The life sciences sector contributed to one-third of job gains across Maryland between 2002 and 2010, during which time the industry’s average annual salary climbed nearly 50 percent, a state study found.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley released the results Tuesday during a breakfast with the state’s life science leaders at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s annual conference. The Department of Business and Economic Development crafted the report.

“All of this confirms our growing leadership as a state,” O’Malley said. “It doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because of your work, because of your vision, because of the dedication you put in every single day.”

Other key findings:

• Maryland counts roughly 71,600 jobs as a direct result of the life sciences sector, which equates to about three percent of all jobs in the state. Within that statistic are 33,600 private sector jobs, 29,800 federal workers and 8,250 academics.

• Those workers earn an average salary of $91,100, which is 76 percent higher than the state’s average salary across all industries. Wages have swelled nearly 50 percent since 2002, when the sector’s average salary was $60,906.

• More than 1,700 private sector establishments are directly involved in life sciences work, which the report says ranks as the fifth highest concentration in the nation.

• The life sciences industry is responsible for 6 percent of the state’s GDP, or $17.6 billion.

The BIO conference comes to the District this week for the first time since 2003, and neighboring Maryland and Virginia are serving as regional co-hosts. The commonwealth has made efforts in recent years to grow its biotechnology sector, but its industry still trails Maryland in both size and commercial success stories.

“There’s so much to showcase in the Mid-Atlantic area, especially Maryland,” H. Thomas Watkins, the chief executive of Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences, said at the breakfast. “Our neighbors can’t help but be impressed with all that you’re doing.”

O’Malley was fresh from a tour of Asia where he and 68 other representatives from Maryland met with regional life science leaders to strike business deals and lay the groundwork for future partnerships.

Indeed, the chief executive of South Korea-based Samsung Biologics, Tae Han Kim, was invited to the breakfast and O’Malley made it clear that he would like to see Maryland at the top of the company’s list of sites should it establish a U.S. headquarters.

“There are going to be some states that are going to keep up and be at the forefront of this wave and there are some that are going to be incapable,” O’Malley said.

The difference will be whether the state understands and responds to the capital and workforce demands that are required to foster innovation, he said.

“Maryland is not a state that lacks those things.”