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Life Science Washington Economic Impact Report Shows Strongest Employment Growth in a Decade

New employment data reveals 13 percent increase from 2014-2017

SEATTLE – January 30, 2019 – Employment in the life science industry in Washington is strong, according to Life Science Washington. The industry association today released its annual Economic Impact Report, which reveals a 13 percent increase in life science employment in the state from 2014 to 2017. This represents the strongest employment growth for the industry in a decade.

“After several years of lackluster growth for the life science industry in Washington, we’re excited to have cultivated such strong progress across the state,” said Leslie Alexandre, President and CEO of Life Science Washington. “Building a life science company takes years, but we are now seeing many of our young, research-oriented companies thriving and expanding by adding manufacturing and commercial operations.”

There are currently 1,144 life science organizations located in 110 cities spanning Washington. These companies make up a rich ecosystem of innovative start-ups, rapidly growing research and development driven companies, world-class academic and non-profit research institutions, and global corporations.

In 2017, the state’s industry represented $22.7 billion in total economic activity and contributed $11.5 billion in value-added activity to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The state’s recent growth in life science employment can be attributed to significant hiring at companies that after years of research are now scaling up product development and adding early-stage manufacturing and as well as a wave of rapidly growing start-ups.

“It is exciting to be part of the dramatic growth occurring in the region’s life science industry,” said Brad Gray, President & CEO of NanoString Technologies. “NanoString was founded in 2003 on a novel technology that was invented at Seattle’s Institute for System Biology. Today, we are delivering an entire suite of products, which are sold globally, that we develop and manufacture here in Washington.”

Across the state, according to the most recent data from 2017, 35,914 individuals are employed in life science jobs. While growth has been strong across the entire industry, employment in the medical device industry, a subsector of life sciences, increased by 14.2 percent in the last two years from 2015-2017.

Another growth driver is the convergence of life science and computing, which has led to the rise of companies like Adaptive Biotechnologies.

“Adaptive works at the cutting-edge of biotechnology and advanced computing,” said Chad Robins, CEO & Co-Founder, Adaptive Biotechnologies. “Washington is a global leader in both immuno-oncology and computing. Having the ability to form partnerships with world-class companies and people in both fields, without leaving home, has been a critical factor to our rapid growth in Seattle.”

In 2018, Washington had more than $11.5 billion in life science transactions (IPO’s, M&A activity and venture equity investments).

The industry’s positive momentum in Washington leads to staff and recruiting needs, which is why developing and sustaining a life science workforce to maintain the growth is Life Science Washington’s top priority for 2019.

About Life Science Washington

Life Science Washington is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association whose mission is to stimulate life science innovation, job creation and ecosystem vibrancy across Washington state through engagement, collaboration, promotion, and advocacy. Serving more than 500 organizations, Life Science Washington brings together research institutions, investors and innovators to grow the state’s life science economy.



Holly Noland

RH Strategic for Life Science Washington (206) 816-1895





Life Science Washington Economic Impact Report

Washington’s growing life science industry encompasses world-class academic and non-profit research institutions, innovative startups, global corporations, and government laboratories. The state is a national leader in biotechnology, medical devices, digital health/health IT, bioagriculture, biofuels, and veterinary medicine.   13%



STATE FROM 2014 - 2017

Economic Impact Report - Indexed Employment 2001 - 2017
Life Science Organizations Statistical Information


City Number of Companies   City Number of Companies   City Number of Companies
Aberdeen 1   Gig Harbor 5   Point Roberts 2
Almira 1   Grayland 1   Pomeroy 2
Anacortes 1   Harrah 1   Port Orchard 3
Arlington 3   Hobart 1   Port Townsend 5
Auburn 7   Ilwaco 1   Poulsbo 4
Bainbridge Island 11   Issaquah 10   Pullman 10
Battle Ground 1   Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord 2   Puyallup 3
Bellevue 78   Kenmore 4   Redmond 58
Bellingham 7   Kennewick 12   Renton 13
Black Diamond 2   Kent 12   Richland 11
Blaine 2   Kingston 1   Ridgefield 1
Bothell 61   Kirkland 35   Sammamish 7
Bremerton 2   Lacey 4   Seattle 440
Brush Prairie 1   Lake Forest Park 1   Shoreline 9
Burbank 1   Lake Stevens 1   Silverdale 2
Burlington 5   Lakewood 2   Snohomish 2
Camas 5   Liberty Lake 4   Snoqualmie 3
Carlsborg 2   Lind 1   Spanaway 1
Carnation 1   Lynnwood 12   Spokane 37
Chehalis 1   Maple Valley 2   Spokane Valley 6
Cheney 1   Mercer Island 14   Stanwood 2
Colfax 1   Mill Creek 4   Steilacoom 1
Connell 1   Monroe 5   Sumner 3
Dryden 1   Moses Lake 4   Sunnyside 2
Edmonds 3   Mount Vernon 4   Tacoma 18
Ellensburg 6   Mountlake Terrace 7   Tukwila 6
Entiat 1   Moxee 1   Tumwater 2
Enumclaw 2   Mukilteo 2   Union Gap 1
Ephrata 1   Newcastle 1   University Place 1
Everett 9   Normandy Park 1   Vancouver 40
Fall City 1   North Bend 3   Vashon 4
Federal Way 5   Oak Harbor 2   Wapato 1
Ferndale 4   Olympia 4   Warden 1
Fife 4   Othello 4   Wenatchee 5
Fircrest 1   Parker 1   Woodinville 13
Friday Harbor 2   Pasco 14   Woodland 1
            Yakima 5
            Grand Total 1144
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