Los Angeles County appointed two executives to jumpstart the local bioscience industry, with the ultimate goal of creating thousands of jobs and stimulating the regional economy.
LAC+USC Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brad Spellberg has been named the County’s medical director for bioscience. As part of his new role, Spellberg will help establish biotech parks throughout the county, in partnership with public and private entities, the academe and nonprofits.
Douglas Baron, a senior member of the County Chief Executive Office, has been named the County’s business development director for bioscience. He will lead efforts to identify, attract, grow and retain businesses operating in the bioscience sector.
“Brad and Doug have the vision and practical know-how to advance our goal of supporting new enterprises and local job growth by tapping our region’s world-class research,” said the County’s Chief Executive Officer, Sachi Hamai, who announced the appointments.
Spellberg and Baron will work to create an organization that would serve as an entrepreneurial hub for government, research institutions and the private sector. This new organization would bring the county’s diverse bioscience resources together collaboratively to accelerate startup activity and amplify economic opportunity throughout the region.
“This approach will foster a vibrant business ecosystem that can help us realize the bioscience industry’s full potential as an economic engine,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has championed the creation of a 15-acre biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus, funded a bioscience incubator at LA BioMed, and sought increased investments in bioscience startups and workforce development.“In Los Angeles County, the bioscience and life science industry generates more than $40 billion in economic activity annually and supports 70,000 direct jobs as well as 160,000 indirect jobs while having the potential to create even more—at all skill levels,” he added.
Bioscience creates jobs for scientists and entrepreneurs, as well as young and mid-skilled workers. The industry has proven resilient even in the face of economic downturns and was the only sector that continued to grow during the Great Recession.
With a $7.6-billion budget dedicated to health services, the County is uniquely positioned to help startups that are developing new devices, processes and therapies to improve health and quality of life. The County will draw on extensive research it has commissioned to identify where investments will make the greatest impact, including:
- Providing capital funding for local bioscience incubators;
- Developing a biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Campus;
- Establishing a bioscience investment fund for early-stage startups in Los Angeles County; and
- Partnering with community colleges and industry leaders to implement life sciences apprenticeship programs.
“Like many growing fields in which Los Angeles County is at the forefront, bioscience creates jobs and saves lives,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “With bioscience a cornerstone of the LAC+USC ‘Healthy Village,’ we are providing our communities with access to world-class integrated health delivery. Brad and Doug’s efforts will support and expand our work to provide jobs and health care to all, and I am excited to celebrate their future successes.”
“With world-renowned tech giants including Caltech, pioneering biotech companies and visionary start-ups, Los Angeles County is leading the nation in innovation, research and development,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “The county’s efforts to partner with research institutions and the private sector will result in greater economic growth, job creation and collateral success.”