We’ve been tallying the 2021 Ohio bioscience investment figures for a major update to The Ohio Bioscience Report and thinking about where our industry is now, where we’d like it to go in the future, and most importantly, how we at BioOhio can help us all get there. I have to say that what I’m seeing so far is exciting!

The new statewide bioscience investment total is $3.5 billion raised in 2021 from venture capital & angel investment, exits, federal research grants, and state investments.

Venture capital leads other sources in 2021 with $1.3 billion invested in Ohio bioscience-related companies – the highest amount recorded since we started tracking these deals in 2004. Ohio bioscience exits came in at $1.1 billion, and Ohio’s research funding from the National Institutes of Health ranked 10th in the nation at $965 million.

Our industry supports more than 5,400 clinical trials actively underway or recruiting in Ohio this year. Ohio hosts 15% of nationally active trials, ranking 7th among all states and 1st in the Midwest.

This is all great news for our industry, of course, and I’m thrilled to be sharing these numbers with you. If you’d like to dive deeper into the new stats, visit BioOhio.com/Ohio. But I also want to stop for a moment and reflect on what these numbers actually mean. That total – $3.5 billion – is enormous, the kind of figure that’s hard to put into context. But I want to try.

Here’s what I see when I look at that $3.5 billion:  I see jobs where our recent bioscience graduates can begin their careers in research, development, and healthcare. I see tax revenue from our industry which funds our schools and sustains our communities. This growth is real. Since 2020, through the challenges of the pandemic, Ohio bioscience companies announced investing $1.6 billion into new facilities and expansions expected to create over 6,400 new jobs.

And even more importantly, I see the kinds of groundbreaking innovations that change people’s lives. I think about Enable Injections in Cincinnati, developing wearable drug-delivery devices that conveniently get people the medication they need. I think about MetroHealth in Cleveland, investing in its new CAR T-cell cancer lab, just the second public hospital in the country to offer this therapy. I think about Amgen, breaking ground on a new efficient, sustainable, cutting-edge packaging facility in New Albany, where Ohioans will help meet the increasing demand for the company’s innovative medications across the U.S.

There are real people on the other side of these innovations whose lives will be changed, and in many cases saved, by the work our industry is doing. How humbling to be a part of a field that helps people in such meaningful ways. How awesome to be strengthening this industry that supports our state’s economic future.

These numbers are cause for celebration, of course, but we still have much to do. We need to keep investing in our bioscience and health ecosystems, creating a good climate for the business of bioscience. We need to maximize the educational opportunities for our young people so they consider a career in bioscience and find a professional home here in Ohio. And we need to advocate for legislation that will advance research and development, improve our talent pipeline, and reinforce the business environment that supports innovative science.

Speaking of celebration, I want to share that with support from InnovateOhio and Lt. Governor Jon Husted, this week BioOhio launched the Gene and Cell Therapy Industry Council to amplify support for this dynamic industry. There is significant opportunity for economic development in this arena, and this council will help push these initiatives to the forefront in our state. Click through to our news page to see some of the exciting things happening in Ohio GCT.

We are also paying special attention to several state bills that will positively impact our industry and community. The GROW Ohio Act, H.B. 514, will strengthen our workforce by incentivizing college graduates to stay in Ohio. H.B. 608 will require biomarker testing to be covered by insurance. H.B. 135 will ban the practice of copay accumulators, making medication more affordable for our residents.

At the federal level, we are advocating for the reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBIR/STTR offers federal investments in research and development at smaller, entrepreneurial companies. BioOhio analysis indicates that since 2000, the program has contributed $533 million to bioscience innovation in Ohio. Not renewing these would hurt innovation and competitiveness in Ohio and across the country. Join our efforts to renew these programs before they expire on September 30th by contacting your representatives in Congress via this link. Additionally, we support the renewal of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which enhances medical accountability and transparency while still advancing biopharmaceutical innovation.

I’m excited by all we are doing in the biosciences here, and today I want us all to take a moment to salute these successes. But then, let’s get back to work.

Eddie Pauline
President & CEO