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5 Questions with Cynthia Harrington, Business Development Manager, NH Division of Economic Development

Friday, April 24th, 2015

About 7,000 people are employed in bio-medical manufacturing and research here in New Hampshire, and that’s 14 percent higher than the national average in this industry. Projections indicate the number of jobs will grow by 10 percent in the next five years. We’re talking today with Cynthia Harrington, business development manager at the Division of Economic Development about the growing life sciences sector and what makes the Granite State appealing for companies expanding or relocating here.

Cynthia Harrington Business Development Manager NH Division of Economic Development

Cynthia Harrington

1.Why does the life sciences industry continue to grow? What’s contributing to the demand?

These are exciting times when it comes to research, technology and innovation. Health is such an important aspect of our lives and it drives a need to make sure we and our families take care of ourselves. Science is evolving quickly, as researchers strive to find cures for the maladies of the world.

For example, the FDA last year approved 44 drugs, which is an all-time record, and that speaks to the work being done in bio-pharmacy, bio-technology, medical device manufacturing and all the other industries that come under life sciences.

Here in New Hampshire, we are literally in the backyard of Boston/Cambridge, one of the top life science clusters in the nation. It’s home to facilities like Harvard, MIT and Tufts, so there is research and a lot of innovation happening, literally within less than an hour of New Hampshire. We are fortunate to also have Dartmouth College, which has a renowned medical school, and the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon. Both are great assets to the industry. There is groundbreaking research and development happening here that could very well find the cures for which we have been looking.

2. Several life sciences companies have relocated or expanded into New Hampshire, like Lonza, in Portsmouth; Gamma Medica in Salem, and Novo Nordisk in Lebanon. What makes New Hampshire an attractive place for life sciences companies?

New Hampshire’s roots in medicine go back to the founding of Dartmouth College, which has the fourth oldest medical school in the country, and which is a cornerstone for life science industries and startups in the Upper Valley. The Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon is a great asset to the industry.

The other attraction is our geography. Southern New Hampshire is about an hour away from Boston, which has one of the most robust life sciences clusters in the country. We share a talent pool, but the cost of doing business here is much less, as we have no income or sales taxes and real estate costs are lower than Greater Boston.

3. Relocating a business certainly takes some time and effort. Is it any more or less difficult for biomedical companies?

For any business expanding or relocating, there are challenges, such as deciding on where to locate based on factors like logistics, the available talent pool and even lifestyle considerations – where the best schools are for talent pool and families of employees etc. Depending on the type of operation, infrastructure may lend itself to unique needs, in terms of power, water and sewer and the type of building needed. We work closely with businesses, providing customized assistance to find them the right location based on their specific needs.

4. One of the biggest challenges for any business is finding skilled workers, and in specialized fields like the life sciences industry, this is an especially pressing concern. How is New Hampshire addressing this need for the industry?

New Hampshire really prides itself on being in tune with the needs of its companies and in growing industry sectors such as life science. We work very closely with our education partners, which include the University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College and the Community College System of New Hampshire, to have programs in place to make sure these companies have a pipeline of talent for today and the future. We are taking steps to make sure the industry continues to grow. For example, New Hampshire companies joined us at the Arab Health trade show earlier this year and we are planning to attend other biotech-related trade shows and events in the future.

5. For a biomedical company considering an expansion or relocation, what are the first steps they should take to start the process?

Reach out to us at the Division of Economic Development. My colleague and I will provide customized assistance to help a company with information gathering for decision making and all aspects of establishing a business in the New Hampshire.