Approximately 16,000 Colorado residents work for bioscience-related companies, and the number
continues to rise.
Always high in altitude, Colorado these days is finding itself high in rankings. Colorado Springs recently placed first in a CNNmoney.com ranking of the best American big cities in which to live. The same survey chose Fort Collins, CO, as the best place in the country to live overall.
“Fort Collins is a great place to live and work, and people like to visit here,” says William Shedd, marketing communications director for Eldon James (www.eldonjames.com), a manufacturer of medical components.
He should know. The company, headquartered in Loveland, CO, recently opened a USP Class VI cleanroom in Fort Collins. The new facility is a conspicuous addition to what is largely a residential neighborhood. The cleanroom is located on the ground floor of a building that houses high-end apartment units on its upper floors. Quiet from the outside, the cleanroom features large windows, which allow passersby out on a stroll to look in on the manufacturing of luer valves, plastic tubing, and hose fittings. This degree of intimacy between an industrial facility and a residential community is by no means widespread, but it is indicative of the growing presence of the medical device industry in the state as a whole.
According to the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA; www.cobioscience.com), which is the primary advocacy group for the state’s biotechnology and medical technology industries, there are 380 bioscience-related companies in Colorado, employing approximately 16,000 people. Half of the workforce consists of employees of the medical device industry. The state’s suppliers to the medical industry provide a wide array of products and services, and most are located along the metro corridor of Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. Examples of suppliers in this corridor include Value Plastics Inc. (www.valueplastics.com) of Fort Collins, About Packaging Robotics (www.aboutpackagingrobotics.com) of Thornton (10 miles outside Denver), and Particle Measuring Systems (www.pmeasuring.com) of Boulder.
Colorado Springs is a prime area of growth. CBSA recently announced the launching of a Colorado Springs chapter. “Colorado Springs is definitely a growing medical device cluster, especially as it relates to component manufacturing,” said Denise Brown, CBSA executive director. The city already has more than 25 bioscience companies, and the majority are medical device companies and suppliers. One such company, Empirical Testing (www.empiricaltesting.com), is unusual among mechanical testing companies in exclusively focusing on medical devices.
The city’s local university is growing as well. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (www.uccs.edu) is the fastest-growing university in the state, and one of the fastest growing in the country. Outside of Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado at Boulder (www.colorado.edu) remains the largest research university in Colorado, and each year hundreds of qualified graduates, many from out of state, find positions in the state’s medical device industry. Colorado State University at Fort Collins (www.colostate.edu) is home to a school of biomedical engineering, the first of its kind in Colorado.
To find out more about selected Colorado suppliers to the medical device industry, see below for company capabilities and product offerings.