Bioscience Industry in Alabama nurtures opportunity

Bioscience companies have found success and a home in the state of Alabama. The biotech industry is making an impact immediately within the state’s borders, and soon will leave a lasting impact on generations to come beyond state lines.


A report from the TEConomy Partners LLC and Biotechnology Innovation Organization released in 2016 show Alabama’s biotech industry expanding and developing significantly. The “Value of Bioscience Innovation in Growing Jobs and Improving Quality of Life 2016” report is calculated through measuring key factors of industry health such as companies and employees, average wages, R&D expenditures, and venture capital investments. An increase in successful job opportunities and investment in the bioscience division earn the southern state recognition as an emerging leader of bioscience innovation and investment. The Alabama biotech report listed the state’s bioscience industry employment to total almost 14,000 people between 808 companies, a figure demonstrating significant increase in high-paying jobs. On average, the U.S. concentrates 61 percent in academic bioscience related R&D expenditures. In Alabama, bioscience yields 70 percent of total science and engineering investment, positioning the state among the top 10 in the nation for the highest concentration of academic bioscience R&D expenditures. Additionally, Alabama also placed among the top 10 states in the growth of the National Institutes of Health funding which increased from the preceding year by 10.7 percent, totaling $280 million. This funding has been supported by $101 million in venture capital investment in the state since 2012.


Bioscience leaders and company executives, including an Alabama delegation, attended the BIO International Convention in San Francisco in June, a large networking conference in the biotech industry. Ted Clem, director of Business Recruitment and Retention Office at the Alabama Department of Commerce, noted the significant positive impact the biotechnology and life sciences industries have had thus far “in generating important innovations that improve the quality of life and creating high paying jobs in our state”. The director further stated that he was “encouraged to see our work in the bioscience industry validated in this report and we remain focused on bringing more bioscience companies and jobs to the state”.

The bioscience industry includes a wide range of intelligence and research, with various opportunities for development. BioAlabama, an organization that represents the industry in the state, identified the main areas of bioscience growth in Alabama: medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical laboratories; and drugs and pharmaceuticals. In addition, when evaluating performance, TEConomy/BIO report identified several metro areas in Alabama that ranked highly. For example, the Auburn-Opelika area is one of 32 metros in the U.S. with specialization in at least three of five bioscience subsectors. Carter Wells, BioAlabama board member and vice president for economic development at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology said, “This report demonstrates the growing importance of biotechnology to our state economy”. The board member spoke of their determination to continue the growth of the industry through discoveries by research leaders at Auburn, HudsonAlpha, and other principal centers.

Hence, the R&D tax credit could have a huge impact on these emerging companies, particularly as the concentration of academic bioscience R&D expenditures continues to grow. It is recommended that businesses consider contacting a tax professional with R&D credit expertise to assist in their understanding of their eligibility and the claim process. Contact Swanson Reed today to learn more about the R&D Tax Credit and what tax savings you may be eligible for!

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