During the first six months of this year, the pharmaceutical-biotech industry completed construction on a total of 31 new plants and research centers across North America, according to a recent report from Industrial Info Resources, based in Sugar Land, Texas. The new plants included both grassroot facilities as well as the renovation of existing buildings.

Although the 2008 figures represent a decline of 10% over the same period last year (when 34 new plants opened), the total investment value of $1.7 billion has remained the same. Sources for this new activity include private industry, commercial developers, universities, and the federal government.

From a regional standpoint, the Great Lakes and Southwest regions both hosted six new plant openings since the beginning of 2008. With six months remaining in the year, the sector as a whole is expecting another 52 plants and laboratories to open before year's end.