Life Science, Biotech & Health Care

Life Science, Biotech & Healthcare in Illinois

Illinois Medical, and Biopharmaceutical Industry

Illinois is a leader in the life sciences industry, with more than 440 corporate research and development facilities and more than 200 academic, government, and non-profit research institutions. Overall, Illinois has more than 5% of the national employment in both the biotechnology and the drugs and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Illinois is also a major medical centre with several renowned teaching hospitals and eight medical schools. Top ranked Illinois hospitals include Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Centre. Two of the top medical schools in the USA are in Illinois- the University of Chicago and Northwestern. The Illinois Medical District (IMD) on the west side of Chicago is the largest urban medical district in the USA and supports some 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Notable US pharmaceutical and medical device companies headquartered in Illinois include Abbott, Baxter, and Hospira while international companies like Astellas Pharma, Takeda Pharmaceutical North America. and Lundbeck have chosen Illinois as their North American headquarters. Siemens Healthcare also operates large manufacturing facilities in Illinois including Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and Siemens Medical Solutions.

Overall the biopharmaceutical industry in Illinois directly employs more than 40,000 people and supports more than 112,000 indirect jobs.

Biopharmaceutical companies in Chicago received $79.8 million in venture capital in 2015.


With a long history of technological breakthroughs in biotechnology, chemistry and physics, Illinois is a breeder reactor of advancement in medicines, medical devices, nutritional products and environmental solutions. The state's robust biotech industry contributes close to $100 billion and 81,000 jobs to the Illinois economy. Even with an impressive roster of biotech and life sciences companies like Abbott Laboratories, Astellas, Baxter Healthcare, Takeda, and Lundbeck U.S. already calling Illinois home, the state continues to see investment from existing companies and creates the ideal environment for biotech startups. Chicago has a lower business cost for biotechnology/biomedical R&D than peer cities, including New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.

Illinois has two of the world's top universities for life sciences – University of Chicago (#18) and Northwestern University (#39) – Cancer immunotherapy, a treatment intended to enhance the immune system in order to fight cancer, is being pioneered in Illinois and has the potential to fundamentally change treatment approaches. The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center is positioning itself as a leader in this field with its Immunology and Cancer Program. In 2016, the University of Chicago entered into a five-year collaboration agreement with Abbvie to advance medical research in oncology.

Illinois is an established world leader in agricultural biotech with leading companies like ADM, Tate and Lyle and Valent BioSciences active in biotech developments. The sector is strongly supported by research institutes like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and NCAUR (National Centre for Agricultural Utilisation Research)
The state's network of R&D facilities, research universities, government and nonprofit research institutions has contributed to the incredible breakthroughs in the identification and treatment of diseases. Notable successes include Northbrook based Marathon Pharmaceuticals, which received the FDA's rare pediatric disease designation for a potential treatment for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Evanston-based Preora Diagnostics Inc, which plans to introduce low-cost cancer pre-screening tests at the primary care level.


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