Optimal Target #3: Life Sciences Research & Manufacturing

By LVEDC Staff on May 20, 2014

LVEDC logo smallEDITOR’S NOTE: The optimal industry target selection is based on the site-specific characteristics of the Lehigh Valley economy. Using results from the previously completed Competitive Realities Report, the Assets and Challenges Assessment, focus groups, and field visits, four industry targets were chosen that best match the unique competitive advantages in the area to the needs of particular industry sectors. For each target, a bulleted list of rationales is presented and identified as appealing to the needs of prospects (P) or the community (C). This material can be used in marketing and community support efforts or to help economic development personnel prioritize targeting efforts.

The Life Sciences Research & Manufacturing target aligns Lehigh Valley’s competitive advantages in the Life, Biological & Biomedical Sciences fields with new opportunities emerging in the fast-changing life sciences commercial environment.

Firms seeking to survive and potentially prosper in the current uncertain market will be actively seeking to advance new products and services and, along with the expected increase in mergers and acquisitions, should afford Lehigh Valley attractive new prospect possibilities.

Sub-sectors for Life Sciences Research & Manufacturing include:

  • Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing
  • In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance Manufacturing
  • Biological Product Manufacturing
  • Surgical & Medical Instrument Manufacturing
  • Surgical Appliance and Supplies Manufacturing
  • Research & Development in Biotechnology
  • Medical Laboratories

Underlying forces driving the expected growth and change in Life Sciences Research & Manufacturing subsector industry targets are:

  • Expansion in the number of people covered under private health insurance due to the Federal Affordable Care Act.
  • Increasing access and demand for generic drugs and medical services.
  • Search for more cost-effective treatments and developments of early detection technologies.
  • Aging baby boomer demographic boosting demand for medical industry services and products.
  • Continued customer demand for medical innovation and new product development.
  • Increasing trends in market globalization and expansions of export opportunities.


• Presence of Temple University School of Medicine/St. Luke’s University Health Network. (P)

• Presence of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s independent residency program; clinical campus of University of South Florida’s College of Medicine. (P)

• Presence of Lehigh University’s Center for Manufacturing Systems Engineering. (P)

• Among top recommended industry target in stakeholder focus groups. (C)

• Central location and well-developed transportation infrastructure. (P)

• Availability of adequate water and sewer lines to industrial sites. (P)

• High relative proportion of residents with bachelor’s degrees in engineering. (P)

• 740 post-secondary completions in year 2012 from local institutions in engineering fields. (P)

• 384 post-secondary completions in year 2012 from local institutions in Biological & Biomedical Sciences fields. (P)

• Strong recent growth and high local specialization in Healthcare & Life Sciences cluster. (P)

• Local Manufacturing sector exhibits a strong local competitive effect. (P)

• Local Production occupations earn 9.1% above the same group national median. (C)

• Local Healthcare Practitioners & Technical occupations earn 2.2% above the same group national median. (C)

• Strong recent growth of local Healthcare cluster. (P)

• Demonstrated strong local completive effect of local Healthcare cluster (P)

• Average target subsector national earnings of $117,090. (C)

• Average target subsector five-year forecasted growth of 9.5 percent. (C)

• Strong existing local pool of high-demand occupations. (P)

• 1,117 annual post-secondary completions in critical fields from local institutions. (P)

• Quality of place assets: ample opportunities for cultural activities, recreation, shopping, restaurants, and sporting events. Strong healthcare system. (P)

NEXT WEEK: We unveil optimal target #4 and reveal the rationale behind the selection.

Income gap and politics: It’s still the economy, stupid

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following column was penned by LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham and first appeared in the May 19, 2014 issue of Lehigh Valley Business. It's not ofte[...]

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