New Report Details Robust Growth and Immense Opportunity for Delaware’s Life Sciences Sector

Bioscience Life Science in Delaware report 2021

Study shows bioscience is leading economic driver in Delaware, generating $2B in GDP annually, with 11,000 employed in diverse sector jobs and state poised for significant expansion.
A comprehensive new report on Delaware’s life sciences vividly demonstrates the sector’s strength and recent growth, with 11000 jobs in the field, an annual economic impact of $2 billion in GDP, and a 65% increase in the number of new biotechnology R&D companies formed over the last 10 years.

Produced by Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) and the Delaware BioScience Association (Delaware Bio), the study, “Life Sciences in Delaware: Momentum and Opportunity,” is the first comprehensive assessment of the breadth, depth and potential of the Delaware life sciences landscape.
The report analyzed five component subsectors capturing the full spectrum of bioscience activity in the state across private sector companies, higher education and nonprofit research institutions: Pharmaceuticals and Therapeutics; Research and Development, Testing and Medical Laboratories; Agricultural and Industrial Biosciences; Medical Devices and Equipment; and Supply and Distribution.
Key findings include:

  • Bioscience is a powerful economic driver in Delaware: The life sciences sector employs approximately 11,000 people and directly generates $2 billion in GDP (both 2.5% of total state employment and GDP) along with payrolls of at least $230 million.
  • Delaware’s bioscience landscape has transformed in recent years: The number of life sciences operations in Delaware has grown significantly in the past decade — most notably in the biotechnology R&D subindustry with an increase of 65% — and Delaware now ranks 7th nationally for life sciences venture capital funding per capita.
  • Delaware draws on a world-class talent pool in the statewide and regional labor market: Nearly 30% of all biochemists and biophysicists in the U.S. and one in six U.S. pharmaceutical employees works in Delaware’s region. The greater Philadelphia area ranks fourth in life sciences employment nationally, with Delaware employers drawing about one of five employees from across state lines.
  • Growth in federal funding has accelerated R&D activity: Since 2000, Delaware’s R&D funding from the National Institutes of Health has more than doubled, and the state is among the top three recipients per capita of funding from the NIH Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), centered at the University of Delaware, recently opened a $156 million center for R&D and biopharmaceutical workforce training and, in July, received another $153 million in federal grants.
  • Delaware is home to an increasing, wide range of degree and training programs: The number of degrees in the life sciences disciplines awarded by Delaware institutions has grown by 64% since 2010.

Recent developments underscore significant momentum and opportunity for growth areas, including advanced manufacturing: These include the announcement of a several hundred-million-dollar-investment in a new pharmaceutical development and manufacturing facility in Middletown, hundreds of millions dollars more in investment planned for a new science and innovation park at a former DuPont site, a $10 million program supporting the expansion of lab space and one of 2020’s most successful biotech IPOs by a Delaware company.

Cementing Delaware’s position as a preeminent hub for the life sciences will require clear focus and collaboration across government, higher education and industry: The state is ideally situated to accelerate sector growth with sustained, strategic investment in workforce development, infrastructure and lab space, and improved university-industry engagement and access to capital. 

“This report confirms the exciting growth, vitality and great potential of Delaware’s life sciences sector,” said Governor John Carney, co-chair of DPP. “Our state has so many unique strengths and advantages within a thriving region. Ensuring Delaware is a top-tier global hub of life sciences research and innovation is essential to both public health and our economic future, and we will continue to invest in its long-term growth.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has vividly demonstrated the enormous importance of the work biomedical researchers devote their lives to advancing,” said Delaware Bio President Michael Fleming. “With growth across every facet of our sector – from private businesses of every size to new degree and training programs and increased R&D investment and expanding manufacturing capacity – the Delaware bioscience sector has never been stronger, and this report provides a compelling roadmap for the life sciences’ role as a central driver of the state’s success while transforming the lives of the patients it serves.”  

“We are seeing both strong organic sector growth as well as a substantial increase in external interest by life science companies considering Delaware for their home,” said Kurt Foreman, DPP president and CEO. “The findings in this report make clear why the state has increasing momentum and appeal as an ideal location for life sciences companies to invest and grow.”

The complete report is available at or by clicking here.


About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership ( leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting and developing talent. The DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.

About the Delaware BioScience Association

Since 2006, the Delaware BioScience Association has been a catalyst for bioscience innovation in Delaware. Delaware Bio serves pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, medical device manufacturers, agricultural biotech and chemical companies, research and testing companies, hospitals and medical institutions, academic partners and other organizations and related service companies, with the goal of expanding our state’s vibrant science economy.

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