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Life Sciences on the Rise - North American Report

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Innovative technologies and aging demographics are driving a wave of demand for R&D space, diagnostic centers and healthcare facilities.

The global life sciences industry has been on the rise, growing more rapidly than ever over the past decade—well before the pandemic struck. In fact, its trajectory only accelerated throughout 2020 and into early 2021—with demand for its products surging and access to capital continuing to greatly expand in both periods. A record $70 billion of private and public capital (mostly venture capital and initial  public offerings) poured into life sciences-related companies in North America in 2020, a 93% increase from the previous record of $36 billion received in 2018. And if investment continues at the pace we’ve seen in the first quarter of 2021 (already totaling $32.9 billion), we could see somewhere in the area of $90 billion raised this year alone. 

With COVID-19 challenging the sector last year like never before, the industry has clearly proven itself, sparking a light that illuminated a better way to work, collaborate and innovate toward the hope of a vaccinated future. The speed at which COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and rolled out is a huge achievement for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and is also a testament to the power of global collaboration. Now that we know what’s achievable in a relatively short amount of time, many will ponder what’s next for the life sciences industry. What else is it capable of doing?   

Key takeaways include:

  • The global life sciences industry has been on the rise, growing more rapidly than ever over the past decade; its trajectory only strengthened throughout 2020 and going into 2021. 
  • COVID-19 has further cemented the strength of the life sciences industry with mRNA technology opening the door to new possibilities. 
  • Life sciences is a good alternative asset category for investors since sector is appearing to be recession-proof. 

Read more about the Global Life Sciences Industry in 2021.

Does your building qualify for a life science conversion? Explore our checklist.


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Kenneth McCarthy New York Research
Kenneth McCarthy

Economist, Global Research
New York, United States

+1 (212) 698-2502 x332502

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Sandy Romero New York Research
Sandy Romero

Senior Analyst Research
New York, United States

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Brendan Carroll Boston
Brendan Carroll

Research Director
Boston, United States

+1 (617) 2794565

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