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Leading Life Sciences

We know it's not about living longer, but living better

MN Health Innovation Companies ListMinnesota is committed to developing, building and promoting health and life science technologies across a broad swath of industries – including medical devices, health care, pharma & biotech, health IT, animal science, biomaterials/biofuels and more. That's why we have a robust health and life sciences ecosystem. Businesses looking to start, expand or relocate in Minnesota will find a supportive community of like-minded partners in the public, private and nonprofit sectors who are passionate about their work and its potential to save and improve lives across the globe.

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Ideal Life Sciences Ecosystem

We prize and prioritize innovation and collaboration. We’re naturally curious people looking for solutions because we genuinely care about making the world a better place for all. Businesses thrive here because of that curiosity, creative energy, and passion.

  • Our patent and technology rankings speak to this culture of innovation and our momentum.

  • We rank 1st in pacemaker patents per capita, 3rd in medical device patents per capita and 7th in overall patents per capita.

The 5th largest company on Fortune’s list, UnitedHealth Group, calls Minnesota home, and other global leaders like Mayo Clinic, 3M, Medtronic and Boston Scientific are headquartered or have major operations here.

When it comes to our health and life sciences ecosystem:

  • Minnesota is known as Medical Alley – the #1 Health Tech Cluster in the world. We’re home to the nation’s largest private health insurer and more than 800 partner organizations in the health care industry around the world. The Smithsonian has recognized six “Great Places of Invention” in the U.S., including only one for health care: Medical Alley.

  • As the birthplace of the wearable pacemaker, Minnesota is among the top states in medical device registration, ranking 6th nationwide in FDA 510 (k) pre-market approvals between 1996 to 2023.

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is the largest employer in the state with more than 49,200 workers, and, it has ranked as the No. 1 hospital in the U.S. for seven consecutive years (U.S. News & World Report, 2016-2022). In its 2023-2024 report, the source no longer ranked hospitals numerically, but the Mayo Clinic was top ranked in more specialties than any other hospital and has been recognized as an Honor Roll member.

  • Life Science entities in Minnesota have registered some of the highest number of patents in the state between 2000 and 2023, with Medtronic alone awarded 5,940 patents.

  • Other organizations operating or headquartered in Minnesota that received a large number of patents during this period are Cardiac Pacemakers (Subsidiary of Boston Scientific, 3,536 patents), Boston Scientific (2,006 patents) and Ecolab (1,596 patents). (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).

MN Science Ecosytem infographicMedical Devices

Long considered a global epicenter of the medical device industry, Minnesota has nearly 530 medical device establishments that employ more than 34,520 people. (Lightcast 2023).

Minnesota has more than four times the labor concentration in medical device manufacturing than the nation, as measured by locations quotients. (Lightcast 2023).

  • Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device maker – got its start here in a garage in the 1950s when Earl Bakken developed the first external, wearable battery-powered heart pacemaker. The company then commercialized the first implantable pacemaker in 1960. With its operational headquarters in Fridley, Minn., Medtronic employs more than 90,000 people in 150 countries.

  • Well-known medical device companies such as Boston Scientific and Abbott have large operations in Minnesota.

Health Care and Hospitals

mayoMinnesota is known for its top-notch medical care – which also helps drive advances in life sciences technologies and sparks the commercialization of new medical breakthroughs.

  • Minnesota ranks 1st in the Best States for Health Care in the 2023 WalletHub rankings, which compared states on health care cost, access and outcomes.

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has been ranked as the #1 hospital in the country for seven consecutive years (U.S. News and World Report, 2016-2022). It provides world-renowned medical care and is the state’s largest employer.

  • In the U.S. News and World Report "Best Hospitals" 2023-2024 report, the Mayo Clinic was top ranked in more specialties than any other hospital and has been recognized as an Honor Roll member.
  • Mayo Clinic leaders unveiled plans in November 2023, for five new buildings at its flagship campus in Rochester totaling $5 billion that will allow the hospital to “scale transformation in ways never before imagined.”
  • With Mayo Clinic at its heart, the $5.6 billion Destination Medical Center (DMC) is a unique 20-year economic development initiative that aims to make Rochester even more of a global health care hub.

Academic and Research Institutions

Minnesota’s academic and research institutions are on the leading edge of many new life science discoveries. They also understand the importance of translating discoveries into useable techniques and products. Among them are the University of Minnesota and the Hormel Institute.

  • The University of Minnesota (U of M) ranked 12th in R&D expenditures among public universities in the U.S. in FY2023. Total R&D expenditures were $1.13 billion for the Twin Cities campus.

Pharma and Biotech

Minnesota has 1,145 pharmaceutical and biotech R&D companies – employing nearly 14,265 people. These include pharmaceutical preparations, in-vitro diagnostic substances, and R&D in nanotechnology, among other industries.

  • Japan-based Takeda operates a biologic drug manufacturing plant in Brooklyn Park, Minn. The state is also home to pharmaceutical companies such as Upsher-Smith Laboratories/Sawai Pharmaceutical Co. in Maple Gove and ANI Pharmaceuticals in Baudette, Minn.

Incubators and Accelerators

Minnesota is committed to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs and technologies through a wide range of programs and services:

  • Launch Minnesota, an award-winning initiative developed through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, serves as an entry point for innovators and startups. It offers innovation grants and helps startups access capital and connect with resources, expertise and training.

  • Over two dozen accelerators and incubators help startups across the state. One of the first, University Enterprise Laboratories, serves as an incubator for early-stage companies in life sciences, biotech, and other science/technology industries.

Industry Support

Our industry associations and economic development entities are all actively working to support and grow the state’s robust life science sector.

  • Minnesota is known as Medical Alley, with the #1 health technology cluster in the world. It is home to the nation’s largest private health insurer and more than 800 health care companies that employ more than 500,000 Minnesotans and millions more worldwide. The Medical Alley Association is an industry association that represents this cluster.

  • One Discovery DriveIn 2022, Medical Alley companies secured $1.7 billion, showing the strength of the ecosystem.

  • Destination Medical Center (DMC) is an initiative to position Rochester, Minn., as the world’s premier destination for health and wellness – attracting people and investment opportunities. It is a unique, $5.6 billion, 20-year economic development initiative – with Mayo Clinic at its heart – that aims to make Rochester even more of a global health care hub.

R&D, Lab Facilities, and Patents

Life science companies in Minnesota have access to some of the world's most experienced clinical and regulatory experts. What’s more, Minnesota is home to some of the largest R&D spenders in the country and to lab facilities at more than 75 companies. At the top is 3M, a beacon for innovation that spends close to $2 billion annually on R&D.

smiths-medicalThis research pays off in patents. Minnesota ranks among the top states in life science patent registration.

The state ranks:

  • 1st in pacemakers related patents per 1 million people (2023)
  • 1st in total and per capita implantable medical device related patents (2023)
  • 1st in total cardiac therapy related patents (2023)
  • 3rd in medical device patents per 1 million people (2023)
  • 4th in total medical device patents (2023)
  • 8th in biotechnology-related patents per 1 million people (2023)

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Note: Rankings by key word.

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