Technically North Carolina ranks both third and fourth among the nation’s life science hotspots.

Looking within state boundaries, North Carolina is in third place behind behemoth California and massive Massachusetts. We’ve continued to grow the sector, even through the recession, so we now have over 600 companies employing more than 60,000 people.

The annual report of major life science clusters issued by financial and professional services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, however, looks at major metro areas for its rankings. So JLL shows the Triangle in fourth place, behind Boston and two of California’s biggest metrotechs: San Francisco and San Diego.

The 2014 JLL report, issued during June’s BIO 2014 international convention in San Diego, ranked the Raleigh-Durham metro area ahead of the New York/New Jersey metro cluster and ahead of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and other big contenders.

The New York and Los Angeles metros are catching up, though. Each rose two places in this year’s survey, to nip at us Tar Heels from 5th and 6th place, respectively.

The Achilles for the Heels, says JLL, continues to be inadequate funding to support commercialization of all the great ideas spinning out of North Carolina universities. We’re an exceptionally high-quality, low-cost place to be. But if you’re willing to put up with paying a million bucks for an efficiency apartment in San Fran, chances are you can lob a pillow out your cloud-darkened window and hit a venture capitalist.

Here are the top 10:

  • Greater Boston
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • San Diego
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • New Jersey/NYC/Westchester
  • Los Angeles/Orange County
  • Philadelphia
  • Suburban Maryland/Metro Washington DC
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Seattle

(C) NC Biotechnology Center