Fitzsimons Innovation Community: Building a Life Sciences Pipeline

The life sciences ecosystem in Colorado has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, and the momentum will continue to build. The region is on a trajectory to crack the top five innovation hubs in the country with competitive advantages that favor life sciences. To get there, we must continue to collaborate to attract national and international biotech companies to Colorado for the long-term.

Snow covered Longs Peak, part of the Rocky Mountains stands tall in the background with green trees and the Downtown Denver skyscrapers as well as hotels, office buildings and apartment buildings filling the skyline.

We’re exploring the key elements to building a successful pipeline of biotech companies who choose to put down roots in Colorado. Watch for additional blog posts on each element.

  • Cell and Gene Therapy Momentum
  • Access to Capital
  • Environment
  • Talent
  • Life Sciences Leadership
  • Room to Grow

Cell and Gene Therapy Momentum 

More than 30 cell and gene therapy companies call Colorado home, employing over 1,100 and expecting to double their employment over the next five years.

The new $200 million Gates Institute will expand on the existing Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Gates Biomanufacturing Facility (GBF). Both have been leading centers for stem cell research and regenerative therapies for cancer and other diseases. 

  • Built among the research labs of the Fitzsimons Innovation Community and a stone’s throw from two major hospitals, the GBF was designed to bridge those two worlds as a state-of-the-art Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. Since its opening in 2015, GBF has done just that, accelerating protein biologic and cell therapy translation into treatments that have improved and saved lives.
  • The inaugural director of the Gates Institute, Dr. Terry Fry, is a pediatric oncologist and pioneer in the development of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies.

Access to Capital

Our maturing market facilitates investment for biotech companies at all stages of growth.

  • For six years running, the life sciences industry in Colorado has raised over $1 billion, reaching $2.4 billion in 2021 and $1.6 billion in 2022.
  • In 2022, early-stage companies benefitted from an increase in federal funding and Pre-Seed/Seed capital, a sign of investor confidence in Colorado’s innovation community.
  • Venture capital investment into Colorado has increased by 43% – the fastest growth across the U.S.

Colorado’s health innovation pipeline begins with seed investments, made through the Governor’s office, in early-stage companies.

  • The investments provide matching grants to support a company’s progression through the “valley of death” and into regulatory, clinical, and commercial strategies.
  • The state has awarded more than 450 Advanced Industries Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grants to Colorado bioscience companies, boasting a high success rate and return on investment.

Our life sciences community introduces companies to opportunities for collaboration and potential capital through partners like Innosphere Ventures and the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund. These help bring a spark and sophistication to Colorado’s life sciences research and development.


Altitude is good for innovation. Colorado is a top state for business, technology, and entrepreneurship for good reason.

  • Companies who choose Colorado find a business-friendly climate, world-class facilities and research institutions, a central location with global market access, and economic stability.
  • Our economy is strong, ranking as the second best overall state economy and third best state for business.
  • The cost of doing business here is more attractive than hubs on the coasts with a collaborative business culture and favorable tax climate.

Colorado is well known as a research and development hub for biotech. Our life sciences and business leaders work to protect and grow Colorado’s vibrant life sciences community, and advocate for policies that foster health innovation.


The mountains (and more) are calling. Stunning natural beauty is only one of many compelling reasons people call Colorado home. Our communities consistently rank on “best of” lists, helping to attract the best and brightest talent from around the globe. Why?

  • Colorado is a great place to raise a family and advance a career.
  • Colorado’s population makes up the second most educated state in the country.
  • Among many claims to fame, our state ranks first in the U.S. for female entrepreneurs, and the Milken Institute ranks Colorado second for science and technology workforce.

Colorado continues to invest in workforce development initiatives across all industries with a focus area on life sciences.

Life Sciences Leadership

Innovation thrives here. The key to better innovation is the connectivity between the state’s research institutions, healthcare systems, and innovation communities.

  • Colorado’s strategic investments build alignment, key opinion leaders, and diligence around co-development, clinical trials, and investments.
  • The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) makes it a priority to invest in and support innovation across the country.
  • With two of the top hospitals in the country, UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, the proximity of CU Anschutz to Fitzsimons Innovation Community has fostered strategic partnerships, improved research, and amplified the talent pool.

Room to Grow

Colorado offers opportunities and space for companies to start a business or relocate their corporate headquarters.

  • Our life science growth offers quick scalability with access to existing facilities, available talent, limited exposure to natural disasters, and a central geographic location for ease in supply chain and logistics.  
  • Increased investment in speculative lab space and biotech real estate development is narrowing the gap between supply and demand in life sciences.
  • Life sciences represents the third largest manufacturing cluster in the state, with companies relocating and expanding their manufacturing footprint in Colorado.

Watch for Fitzsimons Innovation Community’s next blog post which takes a deeper dive into how cell and gene therapy momentum helps build a life sciences pipeline.

Categories: CBSA News