Bioscience Gets a Boost in LA County

Los Angeles County took a major step towards fostering a vibrant business ecosystem to help the local bioscience industry reach its full potential as a job-creating economic engine that advances breakthroughs in global health.

Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

At the 2018 Bioscience Summit hosted by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County announced the creation of Bioscience Los Angeles County or BioLA, which will serve as an innovation catalyst and entrepreneurial hub for government, research institutions and private investors to accelerate startup activity and amplify economic opportunity throughout the region. The move sends a strong signal that the County is committed to becoming a global leader in bioscience.

Photo by David Franco/Board of Supervisors

“With an $8.7-billion budget dedicated to health services, L.A. County is uniquely invested in the success of the bioscience sector as it develops innovations to improve health and quality of life,” L.A. County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai said.

“L.A. County has always generated vast and exceptional bioscience research, and we deserve an infrastructure that helps scientists, entrepreneurs and investors come together to create America’s next wave of great companies,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “BioLA will be our public-private partnership singularly dedicated to growing this innovation ecosystem.”

Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

During the Summit, held at Loyola Marymount University, more than 300 bioscience experts and entrepreneurs, government officials, healthcare executives, academic leaders and investors discussed strategies for boosting L.A. County’s bioscience industry, including nurturing startup companies, spurring capital investments and building a trained workforce.

Biomedical Growth Strategies President and CEO Susan R. Windham-Bannister. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

“BioLA will play an essential role coalescing the bioscience community to drive the discovery and development of treatments and cures for patients,” said Biomedical Growth Strategies President and CEO Susan R. Windham-Bannister, one of the panelists at the summit. “A key to transforming Los Angeles into a leading innovation hub is an independent entity like BioLA, whose sole mission is to strengthen and sustain the life sciences ecosystem through collaboration, strategic investments and the acceleration of startup activity.”

“L.A. County needs to play to its strengths: visibility, variety and viability,” added Larta Institute CEO Rohit Shukla, who also served as panelist. “I am proud to help connect start-ups and emerging innovations to the variety of incubation and development opportunities that exist in the area –  our hospitals, research institutions and space-based facilities.”

Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

Grifols Biologicals LLC President Willie Zuniga, another panelist, noted his company is already working to create career pathways in bioscience. “Grifols partners with local colleges and universities to create sustainable employment pipelines of skilled individuals for key biomanufacturing and quality positions,” he said. “The best part is that many of these individuals are from our surrounding communities.

The local bioscience industry currently generates more than $40 billion in economic activity annually and supports 70,000 direct jobs and 160,000 indirect jobs, but has the potential to create even more, at all skill levels. Resilient against economic downturns, bioscience was the only industry sector that continued to grow during the Great Recession.

Creating BioLA is only the latest L.A. County initiative to boost the bioscience industry. The County is also:

  • Funding bioscience incubators at CalState LA and at LA Biomed on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus;
  • Developing a 15-acre biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus;
  • Setting aside $15 million to create a Bioscience Investment Fund for early-stage startups; and
  • Partnering with community colleges and industry leaders to implement life sciences apprenticeship programs.

Following the Summit, panel moderators and participants will recap discussions and formulate a “Bioscience Action Plan” for the region, focused on identifying achievable goals and setting milestones for measuring progress. For more information, visit or