North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham region, a.k.a. the Research Triangle, has the nation’s second leading life science base among major metro areas, up from No. 4 since last year, according to a new report.
The Triangle now ranks only behind Greater Boston. And this time it's ahead of the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego and New York City/New Jersey in the latest Life Sciences Outlook. It's an annual report issued by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, a global financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management.
The rankings are based on life science employment concentration and growth, company concentration, venture capital funding, NIH funding and patents.
The report says life science employment in the Triangle grew by nearly 18 percent since last year and now totals almost 32,000 workers. JLL uses different criteria for defining life science companies than does the more limited definition of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. JLL's system of counting life science companies says the total for the Raleigh-Durham market grew by nearly 5 percent and now numbers 874.
The report’s section on the Triangle issued these accolades:
- “The rich talent pool, stable socioeconomic structure, proximity to universities and high quality of life have attracted major players to the area. The Triangle’s universities and research facilities continue to invest in expanding life sciences research.”
- “The local universities have helped researchers and entrepreneurs build world-class companies in the Triangle. As one of the hottest markets for biotech research, potential investors will find this an attractive market in which to invest.”
- “The vibrant local urban environment has led to strong in-migration of younger generations of the workforce. Strong ties between the educational and private institutions helped to recruit, train and retain talent locally.”
The report also notes that, at $19 per square foot, the Triangle has by far the lowest rent for laboratory space among the top five metro markets. Greater Boston’s is the highest at $47.40, followed by San Francisco’s $37.30.
“Building, and maintaining, a leading life science cluster is an extremely competitive, high-value proposition," said Doug Edgeton, president and CEO of NCBiotech.
"The specialists at JLL obviously appreciate the fact that North Carolina has an advantage in real estate costs compared to other big bioscience magnets. But many places can offer competitive rental prices. North Carolina’s special sauce includes our well-established life science infrastructure. We have a job-ready workforce, a collaborative style, and, as they’ve cited for the Triangle in this report, impressive concentrations of brainpower.”