How medical research is boosting Connecticut’s economy

Six years ago, Jason Thomson learned that his 13-year position in research at Pfizer would come to an end. He was among 1,100 employees laid off at the company’s drug development laboratory in Groton. He feared that his career was in jeopardy. He didn’t want to move his family and worried he wouldn’t be able to land a comparable job in Connecticut.

But things worked out much better than he expected. “I was fortunate,” says Thomson, a resident of Colchester. “I was out of work for just over six months.” Today, he’s a lab manager at the Yale Stem Cell Center in New Haven. He plays a key role at the center, overseeing the preparation of stem cells that other researchers use to pursue their studies.

Thomson’s personal journey illustrates an economic shift in Connecticut. Over the past decade, several large pharmaceutical companies have either closed their doors here or cut hundreds of jobs from their local payrolls. These moves pose a threat to the state economy.For Connecticut to thrive in the future, say state political, academic and business leaders, more jobs are needed in groundbreaking biomedical research and a home-grown biotech industry.

The 10-year-old Yale Stem Cell Center, which is within Yale School of Medicine, is an example of how this can be done. It has already created more than 200 jobs; involves more than 450 Yale faculty, post-docs and students; has produced more than 350 patent applications; and has three therapies currently being tested in clinical trials. And, because this type of research typically takes many years to have maximum impact, it’s likely that the best is yet to come. Learn more by clicking here.