Iowa’s bioscience economy: Drugs and pharmaceuticals

A report released last month indicates Iowa’s drugs and pharmaceuticals industry was one of the fastest growing in the nation from 2012 to 2014. In those two years, sector employment grew seven percent.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, together with TEConomy Partners, a leading research firm, published the report, titled “The Value of Bioscience Innovation in Growing Jobs and Improving Quality of Life.

The below map, taken from the report, shows where drugs and pharmaceutical job growth was at its highest from 2012-2014. You can see Iowa shaded in the darkest color, indicating its top-tier job growth during that period in pharmaceuticals.

This pharmaceutical industry growth is fueled by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, a town which is a biomedical research hub. The report listed Iowa City as being a small metro area with one of the highest concentration of drug and pharmaceutical jobs in the country. That’s because, as the report shows, Iowa’s public universities are research powerhouses: per capita academic biosciences R&D in Iowa is $159 per resident, 23 percent greater than the national average and the eighth highest nationally.

For private companies, Iowa is one of a few states to offer a refundable R&D tax credit, and Iowa has numerous programs in place to help businesses commercialize technology developed at our universities.

“The hierarchy in Iowa is much flatter; you have the access to people who can help and help you quickly,” said Dr. Susan A. Wood, president and CEO of Iowa City-based VIDA Diagnostics, a biomedical company which has worked with the state of Iowa.

For more information on Iowa’s biosciences industry, visit the biosciences page of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) website. To learn more about working with the state of Iowa on a new business or business expansion, contact IEDA at

#IFT16 – Why Iowa is the best place for food and ingredient manufacturers

IFT16 attendees, if you want to be near where your ingredients originate, locate in Iowa. Download this fact sheet to get the full story, but here’s the gist:

Among U.S. states, Iowa is:

  • #1 in corn production
  • #1 in soybean production
  • #1 in pork production
  • #1 in egg production
  • #2 in red meat production

Iowa is home to the largest cereal mill, caramel color plant and spice plant in the country. Twenty  percent of Iowa’s manufacturing GDP comes from food processing, with companies like Ajinomoto, Barilla, Cargill, Hormel, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, Quaker and Tyson in the state.

We also have an educated, dedicated workforce, an extensive transportation network, one of the country’s most favorable business climates and development-ready certified sites.  To learn more, visit Iowa booth 1405 at IFT16, or contact the Iowa Economic Development Authority at To stay up-to-date on news from Iowa, subscribe to our blog.

Iowa ranked #9 in CNBC Best States for Business

CNBC ranked Iowa #9 overall in its 2016 list of the Best States for Business. Within those rankings, Iowa placed in the top 10 in both cost of doing business (#2) and quality of life (#9).

Interested in what makes the Hawkeye State such a good place to do business? For starters, we have a top 6 workforce, according to Chief Executive, a robust transportation infrastructure network and an excellent quality of life. Businesses are recognizing these traits, and it’s why Iowa ranked eighth for new economic development projects per capita in 2015.

Iowa’s primary industries are advanced manufacturing, biosciences, and insurance and financial services, and we have economic incentive programs in place for each industry. Just this year, our state legislature passed the first renewable chemical production tax credit in the nation. Iowa can also offer businesses development-ready certified sites throughout the state, and an abundance of renewable energy—we generate more of our electricity from wind than any other state—while maintaining some of the lowest energy costs in the nation.

To learn more about doing business in Iowa, visit or contact the Iowa Economic Development Authority at