A Roadmap for Expanding LA County’s Bioscience Industry

bioscience

The Board of Supervisors took another step towards expanding Los Angeles County’s bioscience industry, calling for an implementation plan in three months.

Supervisors authorized a contract between the County’s Community Development Commission (CDC) and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to craft a strategy that would create thousands of jobs while encouraging scientific innovation.

“Los Angeles County is uniquely positioned to become a national leader in the bioscience industry,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Right now, however, much of our local research and talent is exported to other regions, such as San Diego, San Francisco and Boston.”

“We must reverse that trend and work towards creating local bioscience hubs in our own hospital campuses,” he said.

Modern biotechnology is a growing field of science developing products and technologies to combat rare diseases, improve the environment, reduce world hunger and establish a cleaner energy footprint.

From 2001 to 2010, Los Angeles County’s bioscience industry grew almost 12 percent, outpacing the national bioscience industry, and acting as an economic driver during the Great Recession. However, the County is losing talent to other thriving biotech job markets due to the lack of venture capital investment and a limited real estate market for commercial lab space.

Acting on a motion by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe in February 2011, the Board commissioned the Battelle Memorial Institute to identify opportunities for potential private, academic and research partnerships at each of the County’s hospital campuses.

Battelle issued a report in August 2014 that recommended establishing three to five bioscience hubs at the County’s hospital campuses, including Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View Medical Center, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

CDC Executive Director Sean Rogan said he looked forward to working with LAEDC and consultants BioCom, BioAccel and Regional Technology Strategies on an implementation plan.

“We have an opportunity to do for bioscience in Los Angeles County what the tech industry did for Silicon Valley,” he testified before the Board. “We are looking at growing the bioscience industry cluster with thousands of high-value and high-wage jobs for every level of job seeker, from skilled machinist and technician, to research scientist and engineer.”

LAEDC chief executive officer Bill Allen added, “Our Los Angeles County Supervisors are investing in job creation by approving the development of an implementation plan, and we wholly endorse this well-considered strategy of industry cluster development.”