The Biotechnology Industry, or biotech, services agricultural, medical, environmental, and industrial markets. It became its own industry in the 1970s with the main purpose being to enhance the quality of human life. Biotech's primary focus is in the medical sector. Biotech industry companies in the medical sector differentiate themselves from traditional drug companies by providing natural remedies and medicines.

The biotechnology industry serves both medical and nonmedical markets. The medical market includes human therapeutics and human diagnostics as well as applications in veterinary medicine. Nonmedical markets encompass both agriculture and industrial applications. Agri- cultural applications include making plants and crops pest resistant, providing improved seed quality, modulating growth and ripening times, enhancing nutrient content of foods, and providing simple and inexpen- sive diagnostics for use in field testing for contaminants and toxic materials. Industrial uses of biotechnology involve many different sectors and include industrial enzymes, waste management, bioremediation, energy biomass, cosmetic formulations, and diagnostics for toxicity determinations.

The global biotech industry is one of the leading industries. The Biotech Industry provided 2.1 million jobs and a $2.9 trillion impact on the economy in 2021

The biotechnology industry is not defined by its products, but by the technologies used to make those products.

Biotechnology refers to a set of enabling technologies used by a broad array of companies in their research and development and manufacturing activities. These technologies have been used primarily by the pharmaceutical industry but are being used increasingly by other industries (agriculture, mining, and waste treatment).

U.S. government publications have defined biotechnology as ìtechniques that use organisms or their cellular, subcellular, or molecular components to make products or modify plants, animals, and micro-organisms to carry desired traits.î This broad definition includes methods of treating disease developed from recent research in molecular biology and other fields, as well as the centuries-old practices of animal and plant breeding and the use of microorganisms to make leavened bread and fermented beverages.

In the roughly 25 years since the development of recombinant DNA technologies in research laboratories, over 2,000 firms have been founded in the United States alone to explore and take advantage of this new field. Approximately 30 new products have reached the medical market, and several hundred more are in human clinical trials. The market for such products is expected to grow dramaticallyófrom $7.6 billion in 1996 to $24 billion by 2006. Similarly, the market for agricultural biotech products is expected to increase from $295 million in 1996 to $1.74 billion by 2006ó with applications ranging from food crops with enhanced pest resistance to improved methods of food preservation.

Biotech Sector Thrives, Generating Nearly $3 Trillion Economic Impact

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA) released data on the bioscience industry in the United States.

The new report, The U.S. Bioscience Industry: Fostering Innovation and Driving America's Economy Forward, examines the bioscience industry's economic performance and its footprint across the nation and individual states during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some key takeaways:

    - The nation's bioscience industry employed 2.1 million employees across more than 127,000 U.S. business establishments in 2021.

    - As the overall economy shed 1.5% of its job base, the biosciences industry increased employment by 11% since 2018.

    - In total, the bioscience industry's economic impact on the U.S. economy amounted to $2.9 trillion dollars in 2021, as measured by overall output.

    - Biotech companies -- especially small and mid-sized -- undertook a monumental effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics; there are 747 novel compounds in development currently.

"This data highlights the vital role U.S. bioscience companies have in creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The report further shows the industry's enormous role in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of getting life-saving therapies and vaccines to patients, as well as economic recovery," said Pete Pellerito, BIO Senior Policy Adviser for Federal and State Economic Development and Technology Transfer Initiatives.

"Even during the pandemic, bioscience employment grew as other industrial sectors faltered. Looking forward, the industry will continue to play a critical role, not only in addressing global health challenges but in helping to grow the U.S. economy by generating high-quality jobs," said Ryan Helwig, Principal and Project Director with TEConomy Partners.

The state-by-state industry assessment is the tenth in a biennial series, developed in partnership by TEConomy Partners and BIO, and studies the state of the U.S. bioscience industry and its associated innovation ecosystem at the national, state, and metropolitan area levels.

The report includes individual fact sheets for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which can be found alongside the full report and interactive map at

About BIO

BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. Good Day BIO is the only daily newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics and policy. Subscribe here.

About TEConomy

TEConomy Partners, LLC is a global leader in research, analysis and strategy for innovation-driven economic development. Today we're helping nations, states, regions, universities and industries blueprint their future and translate knowledge into prosperity. The principals of TEConomy Partners include the authors of the prior Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Development reports, published since 2004. For further information, please visit


Size of the Biotech Industry

Ernst & Young states that there are 1,308 companies in the United States that have been founded primarily to commercialize biotechnology. This figure includes suppliers, but not companies from other industries involved in biotechnology.

The Institute for Biotechnology Information (IBI) reports that 30 percent of the biotech companies it has identified are publicly traded, 54 percent are privately owned, and 16 percent are divisions/subsidiaries/joint ventures. Employment in biotechnology firms is estimated at 108,000 people by Ernst & Young and at 111,600 by IBI.