Put our bioscience industry under the microscope

The bioscience cluster is divided into two subclusters, each of which specializes in distinct aspects of the biosciences: (1) medical devices and diagnostics and (2) pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Combined, the bioscience industry in the nine-county region is home to more than 16,100 workers in almost 730 companies. Between 2011 and 2017, bioscience employment in the nine-county region grew 7.5 percent, compared with 5.4 percent nationally. In 2017, the bioscience cluster posted 1.9 percent employment growth over-the-year and grew for the seventh-consecutive year, adding over 1,120 workers since 2011. 

Metro Denver Bioscience Employment Snapshot U.S. data in ( )
Medical Devices & Diagnostics Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
Direct Employment 11,240 4,860
Companies 360 370
Five-Year Employment Growth (2012-2017) 6.6% (1.8%) 1.1% (9%)
One-Year Employment Growth (2017) 0.9% (-0.1%) 4.4% (2.9%)
Direct Employment Concentration (2017) 0.5% (0.3%) 0.2% (0.3%)
Average Wage $76,940 $94,850
Employment Concentration Ranking (Among 50 largest metros) 12 28

The region is a top bioscience location, offering: 

  1. The ability to recruit and retain technical and scientific employees and research talent
    • Colorado is home to four, top-ranked university bioscience programs at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), Colorado State University (CSU), the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Denver. (U.S. News & World Report, 2017)
    • Colorado ranked ninth for the number of science, engineering, and health graduate students per 1,000 individuals ages 25 to 34 years old. (National Science Foundation, 2017)
    • Established in 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce United States Patent and Trademark Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver expedites patent examination in the region, advances cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace, empowers entrepreneurs, and creates new highly-skilled jobs. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2017)
  2. Affordable operating costs 
    • Denver had the third-lowest average rent for life sciences laboratory space at $14.83 per square foot, compared with other major bioscience markets. (Jones Lang LaSalle, 2017).
    • Bioscience companies can recruit affordable, productive employees as the nine-county average wage for bioscience workers is slightly below the national average. (Development Research Partners, 2017)        
  3. A pro-business environment and competitive tax structure

    Colorado's simplified corporate income tax structure, based on single-factor apportionment, allows companies to pay taxes based solely on their sales in the state. Along with few regulatory burdens, Colorado's corporate income tax rate of 4.63 percent is one of the lowest and most competitive tax structures in the nation. (State of Colorado; The Tax Foundation)

  4. Access to financial resources to fund research and development
    • Denver life sciences companies received $58.8 million in venture capital funding in 2016, representing 0.6 percent of total U.S. life sciences funding. (Jones Lang LaSalle, 2017)
    • Colorado ranked third for life science-related venture capital investments in 2017, totaling $519 million. (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2017)
    • Colorado bioscience companies have received $1 billion in venture capital investments since 2012 with three segments receiving more than $200 million each—human biotechnology, biofuels, and health information technology. (Biotechnology Innovation Organization, 2017)
  5. Business organizations and public policy programs designed to encourage industry growth
    • The Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs include four types of grants and a global business support program to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries, including bioscience, among others. The program has awarded over $40 million in grants since its inception in 2013. ( Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, 2017)
    • The Colorado Innovation Network is a catalyst for economic prosperity through innovation by partnering with government, business, and civil society to foster collaboration around global ideas, talent, capital, and the entrepreneurial spirit.

The nine-county Metro Denver region is home to numerous public and private bioscience research and innovation assets, including:  

  • The Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver)
  • The Division of Biomedical Informatics & Personalized Medicine at CU Denver
  • National Jewish Health
  • The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
  • The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
  • The Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine
  • The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute
  • The Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
  • The Marion Downs Center
  • The Webb-Waring Center
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins
  • Colorado State University’s (CSU) Seed Laboratory and Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory
  • CSU Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies
  • The BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder)

The $5.4 billion, 578-acre Fitzsimons  campus includes the adjacent Anschutz Medical Campus and the Fitzsimons Innovation Campus. More than six million square feet of corporate and bioresearch facility space are being developed, combining education, research, innovation, and patient care. Located just 20 minutes from Denver International Airport (DEN) and downtown Denver, the Fitzsimons campus offers an unrivaled range of opportunity from incubator and accelerator space to pre-built laboratories and furnished office or build-to-suit space that can accommodate companies of all sizes, from small start-ups to established industry leaders.