Study Reveals Opportunities for Bio/Med in Western New York

Monday, September 15, 2014

MedTech, the leading voice of bioscience and medical technology (Bio/Med) in New York State, today released its 2014 Bio/Med Industry Report, Bio/Med Breakthroughs: Advancing New York State’s Innovation Economy, at MEDTECH 2014. The report is sponsored by the National Grid, the Workforce Development Institute (WDI), NYSEG and RGE.

The data encompassed in the report comes from many sources, including in-depth quantitative and qualitative research and analysis. Life science market research specialists KJT Group of Honeoye Falls surveyed and conducted interviews with Bio/Med executives regarding the challenges and opportunities they saw for the industry, with a specific eye on workforce development in New York. The economic development consulting organization Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice provided employment and trend data and academic and industry best practices to MedTech’s industry report. The report is designed to give a snapshot of the industry in New York with special emphasis on Upstate New York.

Both analyses address the industry in general, workforce/talent development and economic impact. The study reveals a developing ecosystem on par with some of the country’s hottest Bio/Med locales.

Western New York and the neighboring Finger Lakes experienced some of the greatest Bio/Med employment gains across Upstate New York. The Finger Lakes leads the pack with a 6 percent increase. This growth can be attributed to the region’s gains in the bioscience-related distribution and medical devices and equipment sectors.

Distributors saw a 26 percent increase in employment between 2007 and 2012, far higher than the U.S., which experienced a 3.9 percent loss. A specialized segment of the industry with 67 percent higher concentration than the national average, medical device and equipment companies increased employment by more than 10 percent. During that same time, the U.S. only saw a 1.4 percent gain in medical device and equipment employment.

According to the report, medical, dental and hospital equipment and supplies wholesalers, as well as electromedical and electrotherapeutic apparatus manufacturing lead the way as strengths and growing niches in the Finger Lakes.

Upstate New York’s higher concentration in medical device and equipment is also reflected in Western New York, where medical device and equipment employment is 21 percent more concentrated than the national average. The drugs and pharmaceuticals segment of the industry is also 25 percent more concentrated relative to the nation. Both segments are considered “specialized” subsectors in the region.

According to the report, pharmaceutical preparation, in-vitro diagnostic substance surgical appliance and supplies manufacturing as well as life science commercial research and development are emerging subsectors in Western New York, where employment rose by 4 percent between 2007 and 2012.

Responses and numbers indicate workforce and talent development is a major strength for Bio/Med in New York State. Western New York and the neighboring Finger Lakes region are the most-targeted area for recruiting bioscience talent. The Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester and the University of Buffalo are the top three education pipelines in New York State.

“The university systems here in the state of New York are making a concerted effort to try and involve their students with high-tech businesses such as ours,” said Ben Harp, chief operating officer of contract manufacturer Polymer Conversions near Buffalo. “There’s been a positive step in the state, especially with our universities, to reach out to businesses in order to get their students further developed.”

Western New York’s workforce composition provides further evidence of these strengths. Biochemists and biophysicists, as well as medical appliance technicians are considered specialties with concentrations significantly higher than the national average. Biochemists and biophysicists are especially significant with concentrations 162 percent higher than the national average.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers also draw from the region’s robust advanced manufacturing talent base of compliance officers, industrial engineers, chemical technicians, industrial machinery mechanics and machine setters, operators and tenders. Chemical equipment operators and tenders are especially significant with concentrations 135 percent higher than the national average.

Similarly, specialized bioscience-related occupations in the Finger Lakes include medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians and ophthalmic laboratory technicians. The concentration of ophthalmic laboratory technicians is extreme, 462 percent more concentrated than the national average.

Medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers also remain strong from specialized functions, including industrial and mechanical engineers, computer-controlled machine tool operators (metal and plastic), inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers, mixing and blending machine setters, operators and tenders, and packaging and filling machine operators and tenders.

For a full copy of the report, visit or request the MedTech media kit complete with more data, video interviews with Bio/Med executives and articles.

MedTech is an active New York State association of pharmaceutical, bioscience and medical technology companies, their suppliers and service providers, and research universities. The organization boosts the growth and prosperity of its members by connecting them for collaboration, offering educational programs, sharing news and information, and advocating for the industry with government leaders. MedTech is celebrating its 10th year of connecting New York State’s Bio/Med industry. For more information, visit and follow MedTech on social media at @MedTechAssoc. 


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