Houston ranks second in the nation among emerging life sciences hubs, according to a new report from commercial real estate company CBRE. Venture capital funding in the industry locally increased 86% over the past year.
The report analyzed several factors, including education infrastructure, recent life sciences employment growth, number and concentration of scientists fueling innovation, quality and quantity of medical institutions and size of funding sources.
“Multiple demographic, scientific and financial factors have propelled life sciences into growing faster than most other industries in the early part of this century, and many U.S. markets are well equipped to facilitate and capitalize on that growth,” said Ian Anderson, CBRE Director of Research and Analysis and primary author of the report. “Those likely to stay at the top of that list, or to rise on it, have an uncommon combination of health institutions and universities, a qualified workforce, a pipeline of industry funding, an ample base of lab space, and a solid technology industry to partner with life sciences companies.”
Houston’s favorable performance in these areas helped the city rank second only to Seattle and will be a key factor in attracting further investment to the already growing sector.
Houston's life sciences employment grew by almost 14 percent between 2014 and 2017, the report found. The Greater Houston Partnership's 2019 Employment Forecast anticipates 9,000 new jobs will be created in the health care sector this year.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the "burgeoning sector has driven real estate development, including a recently announced 48-story tower that is focusing on the needs of life science and venture capital tenants.”
Houston's life sciences and health care growth is driven in large part by the presence of the Texas Medical Center and its more than 60 institutions. TMC is the world's largest medical complex, spanning 50 million square feet and accommodating 10 million patient visits annually.
Expansion in life sciences will be further buoyed by TMC3, a 30-acre research campus being developed in the Texas Medical Center. TMC3 is expected to bring $5.2 billion into the Houston economy and create roughly 30,000 jobs.