Changing Industry – Continuing Opportunities

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As we reach the mid-point of 2018, there have been several significant, positive developments in Indiana’s life sciences industry, even during a time of uncertainty related to the current business environment and longer-term secular trends.  Even with these headwinds, the need for life sciences workers continues to grow and Indiana remains a state with many career opportunities. 

A recent study published by BIO/TEConomy Partners “Investment, Innovation and Job Creation in a Growing U.S. Bioscience Industry” (www.bio.org/insights) reported that Indiana remains an industry leader in the life sciences sector, specifically in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and agricultural inputs.  Over 55,000 workers are employed by this industry in Indiana at an average salary of $94,000.  Indiana’s concentration of jobs and companies enabled it to be ranked as a “Tier I” state in this extensive report.

Recent developments support the industry’s momentum.  In the first half of 2018, there were several examples of Indiana companies advancing their science and expanding their operations.  Universities also reported growth in federal funding.  A few examples include:

  • Endocyte and Assembly Biosciences initiated clinical trials for compounds focused on prostate cancer and Hepatitis B.
  • Eli Lilly and Company acquired AurKa Pharma and ARMO Biosciences to bolster its early-stage oncology portfolio.
  • PTS Diagnostics announced a new $30 million facility in the Indianapolis area
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute a 5-year grant award of $33 million to pursue public health initiatives.

However, while there were several exciting developments so far this year, the industry continues to face the challenges of increasing regulatory requirements from government regulators and investor demands for industry consolidation.  The need to reduce costs, along with other competitive pressures, can be seen in Indiana through the recently announced layoffs at Syneos and the acquisition of several medical device suppliers by larger, better capitalized companies.  These trends have also impacted the state’s larger life sciences companies. 

Even in this changing environment, Indiana industry executives continue to seek talented individuals for employment.  At a recent Frameworx event sponsored by BioCrossroads, senior executives from AIT Biosciences, Catalent Biologics and Covance Central Laboratories told attendees that they continue to grow their Indiana operations and are actively hiring chemists, biologists and bioinformaticians as well as staff for clinical trial operations, manufacturing and regulatory affairs.  In recent months, companies like AMRI, Beckman Coulter and On Target Laboratories have posted job openings in several Indiana cities. 

As Indiana’s life sciences sector evolves, BioCrossroads will continue its role as a catalyst to grow the industry.  BioCrossroads has aggregated information on the sector which can be found at www.biointellex.com and www.biointellex.com/Top100.  Its annual Indiana Life Sciences Summit will announce its agenda and speakers on July 10 at www.biocrossroads.com.  Finally, Indy Science Connect has created a forum for industry and academic personnel to network.  Program details are at www.indyscienceconnect.com

While the industry continues to change, there are still career opportunities in Indiana for those seeking to help address unmet medical needs.

Brian Stemme is project director at BioCrossroads.