By Nora Caley
From the July/August 2022 Issue
Healthcare is on everyone’s mind these days, including economic development professionals. The pandemic made people more aware of their own physical and mental health needs, and the focus on biosciences created opportunities for life sciences businesses. Much of the growth is driven by consumer demand from an aging population. There have also been some industry-changing innovations from pharmaceutical companies, such as biologics (medications made with living cells), biosimilars (their generic counterparts), and new delivery methods. Medical device manufacturers are also innovating in imaging, robotic surgery, augmented reality, and other sectors.
Finances are another factor contributing to this growth. Investment in health sciences is increasing. The National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research, invested nearly $43 billion in fiscal year 2021 for research related to helping people live longer, healthier lives. That was an increase compared to the $41.6 billion in fiscal year 2020. Much of that investment went to universities, hospitals, small businesses, and other organizations. Private investment also soared. According to the Silicon Valley Bank Healthcare Investments & Exits Report 2022, funding for healthcare companies exceeded $80 billion in the U.S. and Europe in 2021, an increase of 30% compared to 2020. The report noted that growth was phenomenal in the sectors of biopharma, health tech, diagnosis/tools, and devices.
Companies across the industry—from medical device manufacturing to patient care—are looking for locations where their businesses will thrive. The right locations offer necessary resources, such as a skilled local workforce, as lab researchers and manufacturing workers are not able to perform their work over a video call. Businesses also are looking for local assets such as available land, advanced infrastructure, and technology.
Here are some of the regions that are successfully attracting healthcare and medical device businesses.
Avondale, AZ: All Roads Lead To Healthcare
Nestled at the base of the scenic Estrella Mountains, where the Agua Fria, Salt, and Gila Rivers converge, Avondale, Arizona is located just 15 minutes west of downtown Phoenix. The Phoenix metro suburb is home to Avondale’s Health-Tech Corridor, one of the city’s three specialty districts. Measuring four square miles with over 200 companies and nearly 3,000 employees, this corridor is bookended by two major hospitals, one of them a Level 1 Trauma Center.