Palm Beach County, FL is home to the world’s top two life sciences research institutes, has a new 150,000-square-foot life sciences accelerator on the horizon, and is experiencing unprecedented growth in the Life Sciences industry. Already home to over 700 life sciences companies, change in the national tax law is fueling explosive growth in the county’s sector. Companies are leveraging the area’s affordability and enjoyable pace of life to spark collaborative innovation. With biotech and pharmaceutical education programs at local universities, world-class core facilities available for commercial access, and a lifestyle that attracts talent, life science companies are finding Palm Beach County to be irresistible.
Palm Beach County is the only place in the world where a Max Planck Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, the world’s top two research institutions according to Nature Index, reside together. On Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Jupiter campus, Max Planck Florida Institute is a Zeiss “labs@location” partner institution and home to the U.S headquarters for Abberior Instruments. Combined with FAU’s Brain Institute in Jupiter, which is a Nikon Center of Excellence, the Cluster offers a large collection of microscopy resources. Also located on FAU’s Jupiter campus is Scripps Research Institute, ranked the #1 most influential research institution in the world by Nature Index. In fact, its graduate program ranked 10th nationally in the biological sciences, 5th for organic chemistry, and 2nd for biochemistry. Palm Beach County gives companies access to the best technology in the world in a collegial environment.
Florida Atlantic University offers educational programs in drug development and biotechnology, a medical school, and a nationally recognized marine science drug discovery program. Nearby, Palm Beach State College has a targeted biotechnology program with students graduating with significant wet lab experience. Anchored around world-class research and top-ranked educational programs, life sciences companies are finding abundant talent in the community.
The movement of hedge funds, private equity, and other capital firms from high-tax states to Florida has been well-documented in the national media. However, less reported are the large number of entrepreneurs and growth-stage life sciences companies moving their companies to Palm Beach County. Many of the top pharmaceutical and device executives, targeted and diversified life sciences investment funds, and other stakeholders have an office, home, or other connection to the community. As a result, the largest life sciences Series A investments in Florida for 2018-19 were in Palm Beach County, including Expansion Therapeutics and X-Vax, both exceeding $55M each.
Successful biotech entrepreneurs are finding the community to be exceptional. Dr. Matthew Disney, Founder of Expansion Therapeutics, a drug discovery and development company pursuing small molecule medicines for RNA-mediated diseases, said, “There is no better place to get this work done than in Jupiter and at the Scripps Research Institute, which represents the pulse of Florida’s life sciences industry.” Alphazyme, a developer, manufacturer and global distributor of enzymes, chose Jupiter over Boston. “Jupiter is a magical place and we’re excited to build a great bioscience company here. The support of the Business Development Board and Town of Jupiter made it an easy decision to invest resources here,” said Chris Benoit, Co-Founder and CEO of Alphazyme. Algafeed, an algal production company revolutionizing the global aquaculture industry, is also expanding in Jupiter. “Our Jupiter, Florida founding headquarter has consistently provided the ideal climate and business environment stimulus for our evolving technology,” said Scott D. Hollingsworth, CEO of Algafeed.
Attracted by the world-class research, Beacon Capital announced the opening of the Beacon Center for Life Science and Research, a new life sciences accelerator and manufacturing facility coming to Jupiter, seeking to support 30 to 50 life sciences companies between IND and commercial stage. After seeing the Cluster, Beacon chose Jupiter over New York. “The Beacon-Accelerator will host and invest in cutting-edge companies seeking to bring promising medical advancements to market making it a significant addition to Palm Beach County’s Bench to Bedside Life Sciences Cluster,” said Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO, Business Development Board.
Palm Beach County isn’t just a retirement spot anymore, it’s ripe with life sciences innovation. Home to FAU Tech Runway and Research Park at FAU, two engines for entrepreneurship, South County is home to dozens of internationally recognized start-ups. It’s home to Modernizing Medicine, the leading EMR system in several medical specialties, F1 Oncology, which is on the forefront of CAR-T cancer therapies, and Reachlink, a leader in telemedicine.
There’s been so much activity that the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) has set up a special department to help companies within this sector relocate to or expand in the county. In the past year alone, the BDB has assisted over a dozen life science companies to grow, making direct investments of over $100M into the local economy. “The BDB connected us with a funding source to finance the project and assisted in expedited permitting through the City of Lake Worth Beach, a feature that saved us from a nine-month process,” said Dr. Naim, President and CEO of Capzer Pharmaceuticals, one of the life science expanding companies.
The innovative Life Sciences Cluster makes Palm Beach County a compelling draw for life sciences companies around the globe. Local companies benefit from tax advantages, 47 miles of beaches, access to one of the world’s top three domestic airports, the 4th busiest port in Florida, and a quality of life that’s second to none. Many companies are asking, “Why not Palm Beach County?”
SOURCE: Business Facilities magazine. View the full magazine here >