Life Sciences

Industry Overview

Increasingly, leading pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology firms are choosing Virginia. Here you'll find dynamic research universities, numerous federally funded facilities, renowned research institutes, such as SRI International and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as major manufacturers including Merck, Abbott, Teva, Novozymes Biologicals and Fareva. Our established and growing bioscience base gives you direct access to cutting-edge technology and some of the world's leading researchers. Competitive operating costs, a business-friendly environment and a highly skilled workforce are driving Virginia's growing bioscience sector and fostering discoveries every day.

Virginia's Life Sciences Industry

  • Virginia’s Life Sciences Industry employs approximately 23,000 people at over 800 establishments in Virginia.
  • Composition of Life Sciences companies by segment and employment is:
    • Bioscience Related Distribution (29%)
    • Research, Testing and Medical Laboratories (48%)
    • Drug and Pharmaceuticals Production (20%)
    • Medical Devices and Equipment Production (6%)
  • Virginia also has a noteworthy presence of major bioscience-related distributors such as Fortune-ranked Owens & Minor and McKesson, and in recent years, has become the location of choice for new distribution facilities as established by The Vitamin Shoppe and Emerson Ecologics.
  • Virginia bioscience companies tend to cluster around five areas of the state. The population density and university presence of these areas, combined with an extensive healthcare infrastructure and related workforce, foster growth and fuel success of residing bioscience companies.
  • To view the complete Life Sciences Industry Profile, click here

Key Companies

  • McKesson
  • Pfizer
  • Merck & Co.
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Owens & Minor
  • Fareva
  • LifeNet Health

  • PPD
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute - Janelia Farm
  • American Type Culture Collection
  • C.B. Fleet
  • Novozymes Biologicals
  • Mediatech, Inc., a Corning Subsidiary
  • Intrexon

Assets/Virginia Advantages

  • No matter your location in the Commonwealth, companies and entrepreneurs alike find countless opportunities for co-location and cooperative relationships with Virginia's universities, federal labs and other research entities.
  • Situated in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic's life science cluster, a Virginia location gives you access to key Federal Agencies, including NIH, FDA and NSF, as well as a large concentration of federal contractors and integrators, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, Northrop Grumman, SAIC and SRA International.
  • Bioscience-related research accounts for 50% of all academic R&D spending in Virginia (more than $1.135 billion in 2010).
  • Virginia is home to 11 Federally Funded R&D Centers and 22 FLC laboratories.
  • In 2012, Virginia ranked third in the U.S. with 338 SBIR awards (a total value of $105.46 million).
  • In 2012, there were 79 venture capital deals in Virginia (10th highest in the U.S.) including 12 in Biotech/Medical Devices.
  • In 2009, 344 clinical trials were initiated in Virginia with the highest number focused on cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders.


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