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It’s not always easy to spot Alabama on a map, but it’s hard to overlook the impact Alabama’s bioscience sector has had on our state’s reputation, economic development, and the lives of everyone it’s touched.

Alabama is home to 780 bioscience companies, and the industry has an annual economic impact estimated at $7.3 billion, as well as a track record for breakthrough discoveries. Birmingham-based Southern Research, for instance, has discovered seven FDA-approved drugs used in cancer treatment, and has made important advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, polio, and mosquito-borne viruses.

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville is a leader in research on the human genome, gathering genomic data for thousands of academic, clinical, and commercial clients nationwide.

Underscoring the track record of innovation found in Alabama’s bioscience sector is the fact that organizations are magnets for National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding. In Fiscal 2020 alone, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) received $325 million in NIH funding, up $38 million from the previous year.

Beyond cutting-edge research and technology, one of the most notable achievements of the bioscience sector is the high level of employment that it has created. Nearly 18,000 Alabamians are employed in life science or biotechnology jobs, with average annual income topping $67,000. The economic engine that is UAB is responsible for an estimated 53,000 jobs — almost 10 percent of the total in the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area.

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing is expanding across the state. In Birmingham, Oxford Pharmaceuticals opened a $29 million manufacturing facility and Evonik established an advanced biomaterials manufacturing facility with R&D capabilities. In Auburn, SiO2 Materials Science invested $163 million to ramp up production of its patented vials for the federal government COVID-19 vaccine program.

At the center of considerable activity is Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park (CRP), the second largest research and technology park in the U.S. Home to a mix of Fortune 500 companies and homegrown innovators, along with nearly 30,000 employees, CRP contributes to the success of many high-tech enterprises, U.S. defense and aerospace agencies, and higher-education institutions.

Read BioAlabama’s 2020 Economic Development Roadmap.

Quick Facts

  • 780 bioscience companies
  • 54 medical device companies
  • $7.3 billion annual economic impact
  • NIH funding to Alabama organizations totaled $392 million in 2019
  • 17,870 employed in bioscience
  • 576 bioscience patents awarded, 2016-2019
  • $70 million in bioscience venture capital commitments, 2016-2019
  • $696 million in academic bioscience research expenditures in Fiscal 2018
  • Southern Research discovered 7 FDA-approved anticancer drugs
  • Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance has 16 potential drugs in pipeline
  • Cummings Research Park is the 2nd largest research and technology park in the U.S.
  • Multiple teaching hospitals across the state

Bioscience Companies/Organizations


  • Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance (ADDA)
  • Acclinate Genetics
  • Avanti Polar Lipids
  • Blondin Bioscience
  • CFD Research Corp.
  • Discovery BioMed
  • Evonik Industries
  • Folio Conversant
  • GeneCapture
  • H2 Pharma
  • HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
  • iCubate
  • iXpressGenes
  • Kowa Pharmaceuticals
  • Nektar Therapeutics Alabama
  • Oxford Pharmaceuticals
  • Pharmavite (Nature’s Made)
  • SiO2 Materials Science
  • Soluble Therapeutics
  • SouthernBiotech
  • Southern Research
  • UAB
  • UAH
  • USA Mitchell Cancer Center

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