Arizona's biosciences sector added jobs at nearly four times the national rate over the decade ending in 2011, a new report shows.

But private venture-capital investment still lags in the state, and a slip in federal research funding is a concern, according to the 10th annual Arizona's Bioscience Roadmap update, presented Wednesday in Tucson.

Arizona saw its biosciences employment grow 45 percent from 2002 to 2011, compared with growth of 12 percent over the same period nationally, according to an update prepared by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice for the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation. The number of biosciences firms grew 31 percent, compared with 23 percent nationally, the study found.

In the Tucson region, employment in bioscience research, testing and medical labs rose 39 percent from 2002 to 2011, to more than 1,300 workers, as the area added 18 bioscience employers.

In all, Arizona has made progress on all 19 actions recommended by Battelle when the road map was launched in 2002 to help boost the state's bio sector, noted Walter Plosila, senior adviser to Battelle.

"However, more attention must be paid to academic research performance and venture capital investment to continue the trend in years to come," Plosila said in prepared remarks.

Bioscience-related research funding at Arizona's universities reached a record $452 million in 2011, a 55 percent increase since 2002. Arizona's growth had outpaced the nation until 2009, but now the state trails the U.S. growth rate, Battelle found.

Statewide venture capital investment in bioscience companies totaled $22 million in 2012, the lowest since 2009. The drop of 68 percent from 2011 compares with a national decline of 49 percent, Battelle found.

By the numbers


Growth in Arizona bioscience jobs from 2002 to 2011


National growth rate in bio jobs over the same period


Bioscience startup companies spun out from university discoveries since 2002


Bioscience patents issued in Arizona since 2002

Source: Battelle Technology Partnership Practice

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at or 573-4181.