The life sciences industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors today. A magnet for funding, investors have shown confidence in this resilient industry that recently entered the limelight.

Naturally, life sciences companies group into clusters that typically form around university towns and cities, thereby providing them with a constant supply of talent. Additionally, life sciences clusters also tend to encourage investment for development and redevelopment of specialized life sciences space, while also driving investor interest in those markets.

With this in mind, CommercialCafe recently analyzed the best U.S. metros for life sciences companies by using data from CommercialEdge, as well as the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the findings:

1. Boston: 75.35/100 points

The industry beacon in the life sciences sector, Boston is the result of a life sciences ecosystem with strong fundamentals that ensure its continued growth. And, with an unmatched infrastructure, Boston is clearly an established life sciences cluster. In fact, the city can trace its roots back to its biotech beginnings in the 1970s.

Unsurprisingly, Boston ranked first with the largest life sciences labor market in the country. Moreover, the future of this talent supply is also promising, as Boston also ranked sixth for the number of STEM graduates living in the area.

Plus, as an established market, Boston was also home to the most life sciences real estate. Specifically, the city ranked first with 24.8 million square feet. It’s also worth noting that more than half of Boston’s office space was LEED certified. And, with strong tenant demand, funding continues to flow into the area as 23.8 million square feet of additional lab space is now under construction or in development.

2. San Francisco: 46.89 points

Recognized for its world-leading tech infrastructure and tradition in supporting cutting-edge industries, it’s no surprise to see San Francisco ranked second overall in the study.

As the launching pad for several high-tech startups — and with a plethora of universities nearby — San Francisco is a welcome home for life sciences. Accordingly, San Francisco ranked first in terms of the local STEM talent pool.

Additionally, San Francisco also had the second-largest life sciences real estate market, as well as the second-most space in the pipeline (11 million square feet), further highlighting a robust presence of biotech and related industries.

3. San Diego: 40.47 points

Coming in third place overall, the life sciences footprint in this established hub was significant, with 12.3 million square feet taking up an 11% share of the total office space in San Diego. Meanwhile, with 4.5 million square feet of life sciences space in the pipeline, the local market is set for an expansion that will increase its current stock by 40%.

Notably, the San Diego life sciences industry also ranked fifth in the study for local employment, scoring 6.19 out of 10 points in that category.

4. New York City: 33.64 points

Leading the way in terms of talent, NYC ranked first in producing science and engineering graduates, as well as second in life sciences employment.

Furthermore, in an initiative to benefit from the rich talent pool available, the City of New York launched the Life Sciences Initiative, which is intended to turn it into one of the nation’s principal hubs for the industry.

Home to 15 life sciences clusters, the ever-dynamic city has several major developments underway. That includes the transformation of 1.5 million square feet in Kips Bay to add to the existing 2.9 million square feet of dedicated life sciences New York office space.

5. Washington, D.C.: 33.59 points

Ticking the boxes for potential growth, the Washington metro area ranked third in both resident educational attainment, as well as projected market expansion. Here, the real estate footprint accounted for just 1% of the D.C. office space market, but the project pipeline is expected to nearly triple this share.

6. Chicago: 29.48 points

Ranking fourth in educational attainment, the robust research programs at Chicago universities support the cultivation of the local life sciences ecosystem. And, with the ninth-largest life sciences real estate market, Chicagoland’s potential begins with retaining the talent from its excellent academic institutions to provide employment opportunities by encouraging companies to make the city their home.

7. Philadelphia: 29.07 points

Philadelphia’s future as a life sciences center is bright: The metro ranked fourth for its life sciences real estate pipeline with 5.4 million square feet underway. Similarly, with the ninth-largest share of life sciences office space, the City of Brotherly Love also scored a spot in the top 10 for LEED-certified life sciences space.

8. Raleigh, N.C.: 29.06 points

Anchored by three world-class universities, Research Triangle Park certainly contributed to Raleigh’s status as the eighth-best metro for life sciences with its constant supply of university graduates. That said, the metro also ranked third for its share of life sciences space (8%) of the total Raleigh office space market.

Strong indicators for local growth in life sciences were also seen in Raleigh’s seventh-best score in the study’s pipeline metric, as well as its second-fastest-growing population in the country, according to Carolina Demography in 2020.

9. Seattle: 27.94 points

Seattle’s life sciences cluster began more than 20 years ago. Today, it’s home to the fifth-largest inventory of life sciences office space in the study with 4.9 million square feet. And, with the eighth-largest life sciences pipeline, the strength of the local infrastructure is set to drive future growth.

10. Houston: 27.49 points

Despite being home to the largest medical center in the world, the life sciences share of office space in Houston is actually relatively small, representing less than 1% — the 12th-lowest in the ranking. However, supply may catch up soon, with large projects such as TMC3, Levit Green, and The Woodlands setting the tone for future growth that may boost the significance of the life sciences industry in the local economy.

Given the many complex mechanisms required for a prosperous life sciences scene — including availability of specialized real estate, constant supply of talent and investor appetite — it’s no surprise that the long-established “Big Three” of life sciences (Boston, San Francisco and San Diego) are the industry’s centerpieces. Yet, with promising growth across the board for life sciences, secondary markets with quality research universities and potential for redevelopment may also be worth keeping an eye on. For a full list of the rankings, check out the full study and article at CommercialCafe.