While the biotechnology industry has weakened across the U.S., Florida has seen a 21 percent jump in the number of biotech companies since 2008 and a surge in investment, according to the University of Florida.
Updated numbers from the Florida BioDatabase, maintained by the University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator. in Alachua, show 29 new companies opened during the last three years for a total of 165 in Florida. Biotech companies tracked by the BioDatabase are characterized by having a true research and development core that helps fuel the innovation of new products for Florida’s growing biomed industry.
“Florida is on track to become a strong player in the biotechnology industry,” says Dr. Michael Schmitt, editor of the Florida BioDatabase. “Our state has the key ingredients for growth including a strong research base and an increasing trend in venture capital funding.”
Mirroring national trends, Florida’s biomedical industry is off to a strong start in 2011 with the level of investment dollars at more than $75 million in the first quarter alone, representing nearly 50 percent of total funding in 2010, according to data collected for the Florida Biodatabase. Moreover, venture capital funding comprises over half this amount and consists of three deals valued at a total of $40 million.
The University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park—whose first phase is slated to open mid-June—is likely to impact those numbers as the park takes shape (construction shown below). The park will house wet and dry labs, offices, and lab-ready development suites and is intended to help life science and technology research teams advance and commercialize their work via collaborations between academia (University of Miami faculty) and industry. It’s the largest facility of its kind in South Florida, and will eventually total nearly 2 million square feet. The park is expected to attract new-to-market companies who are seeking to use Miami as a stepping-stone to the hot biotech markets in Latin America, as well as Latin American companies wanting a foothold in the US. Additionally, many local companies have expressed interest in relocating or expanding their business at the new park.