Biomedical & Life Sciences


Virginia Beach and Virginia offer an environment where life sciences companies can thrive.

Virginia’s location between the major life science clusters in Research Triangle Park and the D.C. Metro area provides access to one of the largest life sciences hubs on the East Coast. The Commonwealth’s proximity to key federal agencies, including NIH, DARPA, FDA, and NSF, is a strategic advantage for companies.

The bioscience industry is one of the most important industries powering economic growth in the United States. In Virginia, there are 35,900 related biomedical and life science jobs and the industry contributes $8.1 billion to the Commonwealth annually.(Source: VEC, Virginiabio.org, 2021). ​​Companies and entrepreneurs have access to a variety of state and local incentive programs as well as private capital.

For information on Bio specific incentives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, visit the Virginia Bio Incentive Portal.

​Key Focus Areas

VaBeachBio identified four specific areas​ of focus for the City’s bioscience efforts:

Diabetes

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 34 million Americans, or 10.5% of the population, have diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and has cost the United States upwards of $327 billion according to the American Diabetes Association. The Virginia Beach region is home to the world-renowned Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Led by star researcher Dr. Jerry Nadler, the Strelitz Center seeks to prevent the debilitating complications of neuropathy and cardiovascular disease through innovative methods for the treatment and diagnosis of diabetes. (Sources: Center for Disease Control and American Diabetes Association)

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. The Virginia Beach region has long been a leader in the field of cardiovascular research. In fact, Sentara’s Heart Hospital consistently ranks among the nation’s top 50 heart programs according to U.S. News & World Report and is responsible for more than 5,400 cardiothoracic surgeries cardiac surgeries a year. (Source: Sentaraheart.com)

Neuroscience

The Commonwealth of Virginia is increasingly becoming known as “the brain state,” as it is home to many universities with world-class neuroscience research programs. The University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, and the College of William & Mary all offer degrees in neuroscience. Virginia Tech was the first national university to have a school of neuroscience offering an undergraduate and doctoral degree. Treating brain disorders cost more than $1.5 trillion a year in the United States, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Virginia’s steady flow of graduates from these premier colleges make it a premier location for companies engaged in the fields of neuroscience research and development. (Sources: neuroscience.vt.edu and itif.org)

Brain Injury

Virginia Beach MSA has a specialty focus on traumatic brain injury due to our high concentration of active-duty military members and veterans.

  • Active-duty military: 91,380 (Source: 2020 Navy Statistical Economic Impact Report)
  • Number of veterans: 196,519 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Veterans status for the population 18 years and over: 15.2 percent (Source: 2019 Latest Military Report)
  • 14,000 active-duty military personnel annually exit the military in the MSA
Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic

The Cohen Veterans Network, Inc., a not-for-profit philanthropic organization, serves veterans by providing high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care. The foundation opened a mental health clinic in Virginia Beach to serve post-9/11 veterans and military families — some of which include active duty service members.

Jones & Cabacoy Veterans Care Center (Opening 2022)

The Virginia ​Department of Veterans Services is building a 128-​bed, 141,000 square foot facility in the Princess Anne Commons corridor focusing on veterans care. The center will provide skilled nursing, Alzheimer's/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation services.

Key Stats

Virginia Beach is already home to a substantial biomedical and healthcare workforce - 21,491 are employed in this growing sector, which is the second-largest industry in Virginia Beach (Source: Virginia Employment Commission). Regionally there are over 86,000 people employed in this industry. Start-ups and established businesses in the biomedical and life sciences field will find a pool of strong candidates in Virginia Beach. Job-seekers in these fields may also find the number of exciting employment opportunities offering competitive salaries to be a compelling reason to relocate to Virginia Beach.

Regional Research Power

With local research institutions such as Old Dominion University, the College of William & Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, the Sentara College of Health Sciences, Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College, and continuing to produce highly qualified graduates, that percentage will continue to rise.

Major Biomedical and Healthcare Companies in Virginia Beach

COMPANYEMPLOYEES
Sentara Healthcare4,900
LifeNet Health704​
SeniorCorp300
​​Urology of Virginia281
Operation Smile100

Source: Virginia Beach Economic Development, 2021

Key Positions - Average Annual Salaries​

POSITIONEMPLOYED*VIRGINIA BEACH MSAUNITED STATES
Medical and Health Services Managers1,460$109,690$118,800
Healthcare Practitioners44,430$80,030$85,900
Registered Nurses14,260$73,360

$80,010

Athletic Trainers
160$53,690
$52,230

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSA, USA ​May 2020 (Latest Data​)​; *MSA Number of Employed

Why Virginia?

Many of Virginia’s more than 1,450 biomedical and life science companies are located in the Virginia Beach MSA (Source: virginiabio.org). More than 21,000 people are currently employed in the life sciences field in Virginia Beach (Source: VEC Community Profile 2020). The biomedical/life sciences cluster is driven by direct and easy access to such resources as LifeNet Health and its Center for Regenerative Medicine, Sentara Health, Children's Hospital of the Kings’ Daughters, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Bon Secours Health System, and the global headquarters of Operation Smile.

The industry is supported by regional research and academic institutions, including Old Dominion University, Hampton University, NASA Langley Research Center, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), and Tidewater Community College. See the complete list on the map below.

VA Bio-Connect Hampton Roads Regional Hub

A $3.2 million statewide industry cluster initiative developed to support a workforce development program to connect graduate and undergraduate students in the Commonwealth with Virginia-based life science and biotechnology companies.

Research conducted at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (also known as Jefferson Lab) is not only being used to battle cancer but also to produce supercooled materials which, one day, may lead to breakthroughs in power generation and transmission, and computing. It is important to note that Jefferson Lab’s imprint on the region extends well beyond its scientific research and economic impact. The laboratory's Science Education Team is actively involved in the K-12 regional schools and has strong contacts with area schools. (Source: Old Dominion University’s Annual State of the Region Report, 2020)


Hampton Roads Research Parks and Accelerators

  • VaBeachBIO Accelerator - 5,700 sf of wet/dry lab space and home to VA Bio-Connect Hampton Roads Regional Hub
  • Innovation Research Park at ODU
  • Tech Center Research Park in Newport News
  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility


Innovate. Incubate. Accelerate.

The City of Virginia Beach is offering up to 5,706 square feet of space to lease for Bio Accelerator at the Convergence Center II. Space will be available to both startups and small and growing companies. Industry experts will nurture these companies and help them grow in the hopes that they will create new jobs and provide breakthroughs in medicine.

Accelerator Space

The City has hired Facility Logix, LLC to assist with the daily operation of the space and to offer business development programming for our tenant companies. We will offer services to tenant companies and also to virtual affiliate members. Learn more here.

The Virginia BIO Accelerator is home to VA Bio-Connect Hampton Roads Regional Hub. Governor Northam and the Virginia Biotechnology Association announced that GO Virginia has approved a grant request to help fund Virginia Bio-Connect, a $3.2 million Statewide industry cluster initiative. The project is a multi-regional collaboration designed to increase connectivity and awareness of the existing programs, resources, and communities in the Commonwealth that support the life sciences industry.

During the two-year grant period, Virginia Bio-Connect will create a workforce development program to connect graduate and undergraduate students in the Commonwealth with Virginia-based life science and biotechnology companies. This will include the coordination of an industry-specific internship program that will enroll 100 students from our community colleges and universities across the state.


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