Report: Washington State’s $38.8B Life Science Industry Grew 14% from 2020 to 2022


Life Science Washington, the state’s industry trade association, released a new Economic Impact Report, revealing a 43% increase in job growth from 2015 to 2022. This growth accelerated over the last two years with a 14% increase from 2020 to 2022, totaling more than 46,500 direct life science jobs and supporting over 112,000 jobs across the state.

Life science employment did not slow down during the recent economic downturn, providing a buffer for Washington’s economy. According to the report, the state’s $38.8 billion life science industry added $21.7 billion to the state’s GDP and contributed $1.6 billion in local and state tax revenue.

“Washington has solidified its standing as a top 10 life science hub in the country,” said Marc Cummings, President and CEO of Life Science Washington. “This latest Economic Impact Report shows the industry continues to expand quickly and provide job opportunities – at all experience levels – ranging from research and development to manufacturing and commercial operations.”

The recent growth was fueled by investors pouring $5 billion into privately funded companies in 2021, as well as larger companies continuing to add commercial and manufacturing jobs. The report also finds that women continue to make up 45% of the life science industry, one of the highest concentrations of women in a STEM-based industry.

Region Saw Record Level of M&A Activity and Investment Focused on Later Stage Deals

The association also released its 2023 Washington State Investor Report, which showed a constrained investment environment consistent with venture investment nationally, but a record level of M&A activity.

According to the Investor Report, there was $854.3 million in investment activity in 2023. In total, 111 unique investors contributed to 35 deals. While there was funding activity across all stages of companies, late-stage venture-backed companies received the largest share of investment at $610.4 million.

The state’s life science industry also experienced a record $49 billion in M&A activity, which demonstrates that the region is turning advanced science into high-quality companies garnering national attention. 2023 was the first time that the state saw four acquisitions over $1 billion each. Top M&A activity included Pfizer’s acquisition of Seagen ($43.3 billion) and Novartis’ acquisition of Chinook Therapeutics ($3.5 billion).

“This is an exciting time for Washington’s life science industry as we’re seeing companies at all stages of growth attract investment,” said Loretta Little, Managing Director at WRF Capital, one of the local firms that led investment activity in 2023. “Life science companies across Washington continue to uniquely combine the state’s technology prowess and research expertise to produce lifesaving innovations that investors are eager to support.”

Leaders in the Washington state life science industry come together to discuss both reports’ findings and the latest innovation in the region at Life Science Innovation Northwest, the Pacific Northwest’s largest annual life science conference, on April 17-18. For more information on the event, go here.  

View the full Economic Impact Report here and the Washington State Investor Report here.