Central & South Florida: the Next Great American Biotech Hub?

So much has been written about Florida’s potential as the Next Great American biotech hub – Silicon Beach, if you will (excuse the cliché!).

JLL BlogBillions have been poured into creating a technology and life sciences infrastructure, with both the public and private sectors chipping in.

Evaluating the returns derived from these investments has been challenging, but now we’re getting a clearer picture of just how far Florida’s venture into technology has come – and how we stack up against other US markets.

A new report by JLL ranks South and Central Florida as the #12 life sciences market in the nation – marking a significant jump from its #18 ranking two years ago (see the full report here).

The climb in the rankings can be attributed to three underlying factors. First, and most importantly, is employment growth. The region’s life sciences sector now employs 56,000 people – the sixth highest number of any market in the nation.

Next comes venture capital funding, the gasoline that keeps the industry’s engine running. South and Central Florida is now home to the 11th largest share of VC funding in the US, up from sixteenth place two years ago. The JLL report indicates that $133 million was invested by VC firms in 2013, a significant increase over 2012’s $47 million total.

UMLSTP constr_23MAR2011-116And lastly is the basic infrastructure improvements we’ve been making all these years. The region’s concentration of dedicated life science facilities now ranks #10 in the US, rising from #16 in 2012 – thanks in part to the arrival of new facilities such as Wexford’s UM Life Science & Technology Park in Miami and other research facilities.

Only time will tell just how far Florida will climb in the rankings, but we seem to be headed in the right direction. Silicon Beach may not be too much of a stretch after all.