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13th June 2013

U.S. genetics industry has trillion dollar economic impact

A new report shows that the Human Genome Project – founded in 1990 – created a $966 billion science boom, returning over 60 times the initial investment.

 

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The new Battelle study released by United for Medical Research illustrates how the genetics and genomics industry's impact on the U.S. economy has reached nearly a trillion dollars. This report is based on new data collected over the previous two years, and represents an update to the highly-cited Battelle 2011 report tracking the growth of the industry and its links to the federally funded Human Genome Project (HGP).

The updated report, "The Impact of Genomics on the U.S. Economy" demonstrates that the HGP and related research continue to yield significant U.S. economic growth, with $966 billion in impact, more than 53,000 genomics-related jobs and $293 billion in personal income, leveraged from a total research and development investment of $14.5 billion from 1988 through 2012.

The original report showed the U.S. federal government's $3.8 billion funding of the HGP between 1988 and 2003 drove $796 billion in U.S. economic impact, due to the growth of genomics technology and its use in healthcare, energy, agriculture and other sectors.

Carrie Wolinetz, president of United for Medical Research: "As the largest single undertaking in the history of life sciences, the Human Genome Project has paid back extraordinary dividends on the U.S. government’s investment. This report illustrates the vital role that key federal research funding plays in growing the U.S. economy, creating new industries and innovative technologies and producing the diagnostics and treatments that can save lives."

Martin Grueber, research leader and co-author: "Between 1988 and 2012, the federal government's $14.5 billion investment in the field of genomics represents an expenditure of only $2 per year per U.S. resident, with an enormous economic and societal impact from that investment."

Despite the economic downturn over the last five years, the genomics industry continued to thrive – a trend that is likely to be sustained in the near future. In 2012 alone, human genome sequencing and related research and industry activities directly and indirectly generated:

  • $65 billion in U.S. economic output
  • $31 billion toward 2012 U.S. Gross Domestic Product
  • $19 billion in personal income
  • 152,000 jobs (direct and indirect)

In addition to jobs and the economy, the Human Genome Project has had a profound impact on health. Genetics and human genome mapping have pioneered new diagnostics for a wide range of diseases impacting society including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

"The research that has followed this work has the potential to better identify who is at greatest risk of a cancer like mine, and how to best treat it," said Ian Lock, an osteosarcoma survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

In a related story, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that genes cannot be patented – with significant implications for future medical research.

 

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