About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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March 29, 2006

Leading Regional Economic Neurotech Clusters

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Big economic payoffs will accrue to communities that successfully nurture the emerging ‘brain industry.’ The close collaboration of knowledge-intensive institutions, investors, businesses and workers fosters high-quality job creation, influx of investment capital and improved economic growth.

NeuroInsights.pngNeurotechnology represents the largest untapped medical market and numerous opportunities will be available to communities that leverage the dramatic growth of neurotechnology. Given the promise of new treatments, coupled with a patient population of over 1.5 billion people who suffer from a brain-related illness, neurotechnology has become the leading recipient of life science venture funding worldwide.

Neurotechnology is now truly a global industry with companies and cutting-edge research in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Neurotechnology, will play a major role in regional economic development in the coming decades. The global neurotechnology industry includes over 350 public and private companies researching, developing and marketing pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illness.

Brain-related illness generates more healthcare related costs and lost income than any other therapeutic area: an estimated $1.0 trillion annually worldwide and $350 billion annually in the U.S. Neurotechnology companies face fundamentally different investment requirements, research and development challenges, regulatory milestones and social drivers that sets them apart from other life science and health care companies. For example, delivering therapeutics to the brain requires different technologies than is required for other organs such as the heart or kidney.

In addition to the race for discovering more effective neurotherapeutics, there is another race underway: one that will determine where the primary geographic locations of the neurotech industry reside and prosper. The economic outcomes of the formation and growth of these neurotechnology clusters will have long lasting implications on employment, infrastructure development, and regional competitiveness.

The 21st century neurotech nexus race has many regional entries in the U.S. and around the world. Seven of the ten leading neurotech clusters are in the U.S. The Greater San Francisco Bay area leads neurotechnology investment, research and product development, with Boston and San Diego in close second and third respectively. Other established and emerging nexus include London-Cambridge, Greater New York, Raleigh-Durham, LA-Irvine, Greater Philadelphia, Shanghai, and Stockholm. Each of these regions already has solid growth in the regional neurotech economy.

Given the massive unmet market for neurotechnology, several other regions are developing quickly that may challenge the dominance of today’s nexus’ over the next decade. These nascent nexus include: Munich (Germany), Montreal (Canada), Singapore, Tokyo (Japan), and Melbourne (Australia). These regions are less dependent on venture capital and benefit from proactive government and corporate investment which is fostering neurotech cluster development.

An excerpt from last years study, The Neurotech Nexus.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NeuroInsights


1. Alan Brown on April 6, 2006 10:53 AM writes...

Big economic payoffs will accrue to communities that don't favor some industries and technologies over others, allowing the most viable ones to win in th emarketplace.

Letting politics determine which industries should be favored only creates opportunities for corruption and makes it harder for the unexpected innovations to succeed.

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2. Kensai on April 8, 2006 11:14 AM writes...

Well said Alan, but some support by central governments is always needed. I think boosting already nascent neuroenterprises isn't such a bad thing. All the above clusters had already gained a name.


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