Jeff Aronin Outlines Chicago’s Unique Strengths in Bioscience


A recent study from Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and TEConomy Partners valued the annual economic impact of the U.S. bioscience industry at $2 trillion.

Jeff Aronin, Chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences, thinks Chicago’s unique strengths in human capital, medical innovation and funding availability will make the city an even bigger factor in that national growth.

At a recent “Tales from the Trenches” session at MATTER, the healthcare incubator based at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, Jeff Aronin said, “I think we have all the pieces, great research, great institutions,” including nationally ranked hospitals and research universities, global pharmaceutical leaders and a strong startup community.

“The big pharma talent that’s here is as good as anywhere in the country — that’s critical,”  said Jeff Aronin. Chicago ranks as the No. 2 metropolitan area for drug and pharmaceutical employment, according to BIO and TECconomy.

And with 1 in 10 of all U.S. computer science degrees produced in Illinois, Jeff Aronin identifies such home-grown computing talent as a secret weapon destined to give Chicago bioscience an edge as artificial intelligence-enabled life sciences research and diagnostic tools become more commonplace.

Recently, CBRE Group, the nation’s No. 1 commercial brokerage firm, ranked Chicago’s overall technology labor pool as the sixth largest in the country, growing more than 10 percent in the last six years alone. CBRE credited “a robust infusion of various capital sources, and a more seasoned pool of serial tech leadership,” with that growth, adding that “ the city has become a powerful magnet for tech talent and businesses alike seeking a top tier global city that still maintains an affordable cost of living.”

Crain’s Chicago Business estimates that it takes an annual salary of $59,000 to afford a median-priced home in Chicago’s Cook County, less than in the other 14 of the nation’s most populous urban counties.