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Building Our Health and Life Sciences Community

Landscape Study Identifies gaps and opportunities for the Spokane region

There is stiff competition across the globe to attract, assist, and retain businesses in communities across the U.S. and Spokane is no exception. The health and life sciences industry in Spokane has played a prominent role in our regional economy and is a hub providing Eastern Washington and North Idaho healthcare services, a University District, two medical schools, the second-largest allied health program in the U.S., and more than 500 healthcare and life sciences companies.

But does this mean we have what it takes for our region to become a magnet for Bioscience? A 2022 visit to Spokane by Lincoln Property, one of the largest private real estate firms in the U.S., highlighted a gap in our knowledge of the life science assets that Spokane possesses. By the end of the year, Spokane County, Health Sciences and Services Authority, Spokane University District, S3R3, and Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster (a modern innovation cluster formed in partnership with Greater Spokane Inc.) committed dollars to fund a life science asset and landscape study to better understand the gaps that exist in our health and life sciences industry that constrain sustainability of a successful industry ecosystem.

In February 2023, a contract was awarded to Cushman & Wakefield to undertake a landscape study and gap analysis. The final report was received at the end of July 2023 and here’s what it provided and what it found:

  • A SWOT Analysis was performed on important life sciences support systems including Talent and Education, Life Science and Funding Ecosystems, Real Estate and infrastructure, and other Market Factors

  • Key themes from stakeholder interviews were summarized around Talent, Funding, Community, and Development

  • Peer market themes were summarized from Salt Lake City, Portland, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Boise, Boulder, Reno, Winston-Salem, and Rochester.

  • Nine key recommendations were given: 1) Pursue outside capital and champions; 2) Focus on both bottom-up (homegrown startups) and top-down (attracting established life science company expansion) strategies for industry growth in the Inland Northwest; 3) Increase funding, resources, and support for the startup life science community; 4) Facilitate speed to market for inbound life science companies; 5) Lean into manufacturing capability, focusing on medical devices, biologics, and pharma production; 6) Lean into adjacent industries like agriculture, clean tech, energy transition, and aerospace; 7) Focus on strategic advantages of our community – cost, logistics, and proximity to Seattle; 8) Determine competitive strengths within the life science industry where Spokane has a strategic advantage and communicate that hyper-specific focus, and 9) Relentlessly promote the region’s unique strengths.

Where do we head next? Our community’s stakeholders are collaborating and prioritizing the nine recommendations and developing goals, objectives, tactics, and milestones with the overarching goal of raising the region’s median wage by building a bioscience ecosystem of the future.

For more information or to get involved contact Stacia Rasmussen, Life Sciences Spokane Business Development Manager, Greater Spokane Inc.

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