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How DFW Fits in the Circle of Life (Science Centers)

Dallas-Ft. Worth

Time for the kids' shots? Odds are some researchers developing the latest ones could be holed up in a lab somewhere along I-75. Dallas-Fort Worth ranks among the Top 20 US markets for the life sciences sector largely because of our research universities and highly educated grads. (Thanks UT Southwestern Medical Center, we couldn't have done it without you.)


Biomedical industries prefer to be close to clusters of research universities, says JLL executive managing director and life sciences practice leader Roger Humphrey. (He made the jump from Merck to JLL earlier this year.) Lots of startups, in particular, love being near university researchers and other highly educated people, he says. (Plus, if you've got a study to do, college kids will volunteer for anything.) Life science users typically use office spaces and research spaces/laboratories, Roger tells us. Many pharmaceutical companies in the US have shifted their research focus from small molecule or chemistry formulas to the study of biologics and biosimiliar drugs, which are based on living biologic types of treatments like vaccines.


Dallas is still emerging as a life sciences cluster with more than 1,000 companies in the life sciences industry, Roger tells us. The largest segments: in pharmaceutical and medical equipment sectors, which make up 44% of the existing local industry. (That means easy access to bed pans... if you need one.) The highest concentration of life sciences companies is along the I-75 corridor from Richardson to Northwest Highway; with pockets in the medical district along Stemmons Freeway, in Fort Worth, and in the mid-cities at Airport Freeway and Loop 820. The growth in US and Dallas, in particular, is in that very specialized research lab space, which is usually purpose-built in a suburban research type complex.


Dallas also has a dozen incubator locations including the 100k SF BioCenter (pictured) in the Stemmons Freeway medical district; completed in 2009 and 48% occupied, it allows customization opportunities for incubator firms looking for fully equipped labs and preferential access to the UT Southwestern Medical Centers' Scientific Core. UT Southwestern and several other colleges offer a range of degree programs suited to the sector, too, he tells us.