Life Science & Global Health Sector

A researcher examines vials of blood samples

Governor Inslee’s top priority is to create an economic climate where innovation and entrepreneurship can continue to thrive and create well-paying jobs in every corner of our state. The Washington State Life Science and Global Health sector is a leader amongst its peers. This sector is comprised of world class research institutions, motivated and talented entrepreneurs and well-established organizations that are recognized for their breakthrough discoveries.

How do we define Washington’s Life Science and Global Health sector:

The sector is made up of 191 biopharma companies, 294 medical device companies and 78 non-profit research institutions. Over 70 Washington cities host life science companies, research institutions and non-profit organizations, and they have a presence in the health of individuals and communities worldwide.

Sector impacts on Washington’s economy:

The Life Science and Global Health sector is responsible for $11.1 billion of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Employment in this sector tops 34,000 direct jobs and another 57,000 indirect jobs, making it the 5th largest employment sector in the state. Employment in this sector continued to grow during the recession.

What’s next for Washington’s Life Science and Global Health sector:

Results Washington outlines two shared cross sector goals for the following sectors: clean energy, agriculture, military, aerospace, life science/global health, information and communication technology, maritime and advanced manufacturing. Those goals are:

  • Increase gross business income from $646 billion in 2012 to $749 billion by 2015
  • Increase the number of jobs in state by 150,000 by 2015
    In order to achieve the two goals outlined above, the Director of Economic Development for the Life Science and Global Health sector works with stakeholders across the state to advance the following 7 strategies that will influence our ability to achieve our shared goals.

    Those strategies are:

  • Retain Washington State companies and organizations
  • Recruit companies and organizations to Washington State
  • Attract and retain nationally ranked researchers to Washington State
  • Increase capital investment in the Life Science and Global Health sector
  • Increase awareness and support for start-up companies
  • Increase STEM related degrees obtained from our universities
  • Increase federal research dollars obtained by Washington State research institutions
    Are you interested in business opportunities in the Life Science/Global Health sector? Visit to learn more.

    Key Sectors


    Communication and coordination

    Through coordinated stakeholder engagement and action, we will have an opportunity to make significant progress in building our Life Science and Global Health sector. This will not be a “one-size fits all” approach as the needs of the sector vary from drug to device to global health organization. Additionally, the needs of each community hosting the sector vary from urban to rural. The goal of the Life Science and Global Health Sector Lead is to represent the needs of the entire community.

    Maura Little

    Director of Economic Development for the Life Science Sector

    As Director of Economic Development for the Life Science sector for the state of Washington, Maura supports the development of the life science and global health industry, including working with industry leaders on recruitment, retention and expansion of the sector statewide. She entered the life science and global health industry as a member of Congressman Jay Inslee, serving as his point of contact at the state-level for trade associations, business leaders, government agencies and elected officials. She worked closely with the industry to connect local talent and promote the sector within Congress. During her time in Washington, D.C., she helped Congressman Inslee pass multiple amendments on both committee and house floors. Before joining the Department of Commerce, Maura served as the Washington State Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, working with legislators and the Insurance Commissioner to ensure patient access and safety was being addressed during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She is a graduate of the University of Washington where she studied political science and serves as a public member of the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission.

    Need help?

    Maura Little
    Life Science Sector Lead
    Phone: 206-256-6107