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  • Utah's Life Science Industry

    One of Utah's Economic Clusters

  • Utah’s life sciences industry is one of Utah’s strongest industry clusters employing more than 30,000 employees, 2.3 percent of the Utah workforce and commanding an average way that is 150 percent about the Utah average. 

    In 2014, Utah’s Governor’s office of Economic Development (GOED) began closely observing activities within the sub-cluster’s within life science industry which helped provide a better understanding about the dynamic of specific industry growth.  One of main observations is the growth of “service-based” companies within both the medical device and pharmaceutical companies.  Within the medical device space, growth of the service sub-cluster averages 14 percent over the past eight years as compared to medical device innovators at 3 percent.  This observation leads the government to believe that growth of the medical device sub-cluster is being accompanied by vertical dis-integration of the industry.  Companies who have traditionally performed all aspects of R&D, production and sales in-house are beginning to outsource many of those functions.  This activities goes hand in hand with an increase reliance on specialty contract services as companies look to streamline internal processes.  The existence and growth of a strong and diverse set of specialty contract service providers, in turn, benefits not only large companies, but also lowers the barriers to entry for start-up companies who no longer need to build extensive infrastructure to bring products to market.  The number of companies with 10 or fewer employees in medical devices has tripled since 2006, thus increasing acquisition target and the potential for exponential growth in the cluster. 

    Today, life science anchors such as Merit Medical, ARUP, Becton Dickenson and Fresenius, who each employ thousands of scientists and engineers, thrive alongside small newcomers from all corners of the innovation ecosystem, many of whom would not exist without state programs.  As we continue to uncover the underlying dynamics of industry growth, GOED’s ability to support the industry becomes more focused and effective.  Programs such as the Technology Commercialization Innovation Program (TCIP), Utah Cluster Acceleration Program (UCAP), BioInnovations Gateway and USTAR increase innovation across the entire life science cluster and can be fine-tuned to address the tremendous growth opportunities.


  • Utah ranked number one in job growth