Luke Timmerman did a piece in Xconomy yesterday where he tried to rate the top bioclusters in the US by using his own criterion/rating system. It was a simplified methodology -- but one that likely has great commercial merit. He decided to count the number of biotech companies in an area that had at least $100 M in cash and short term investments. Then he also counted the number of those companies present in an area in 2003 and now in 2013 to see the trend.
He picked $100 M as a proxy that would indicate the company had borrowing power, could get Wall Street backing and/or had ongoing cash flow to support itself and its aspirations. He also noted these tended to be indepeendent companies with local executive management present -- and were entrepreneurial in spirit (generally).
So what did the rankings reveal using this methodology?
- Boston had 12 such companies in 2003 and 35 companies today
- San Francisco had 19 in 2003 and 24 in 2013
- Seattle droppped from 5 to only 2
- San Diego went from 6 to 11
- NY/NJ remained more or less stable moving from 16 to 15
- Texas moved from 1 to 2 (although the 1 was acquired by Roche and the two were new)
- Boulder, CO went from zero to 2
This suggests that Boston is the undisputed US cluster King and San Francisco is running a strong second. The others make up the rest of the pack. Seattle is the only one that suffered a major decline -- largely by acquisition. But its strongest remaining player, Seattle Genetics wasn't in the club 10 years ago. See Xconomy.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Oct 15th 2013.