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4 Life Science Companies Create More Than 1,400 Jobs in Novato, California

11/1/2016 1:44:26 PM

4 Life Science Companies Create More Than 1,400 Jobs in Novato, California November 3, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

The city of Novato, Calif. recently asked the Marin Economic Forum and its chief economist, Rob Eyler, to dig into the city and state’s data and develop a picture of its economy, both past, present and future. In that report, Eyler cited three biotech companies and one life science research institution that were directly responsible for more than 1,400 life science jobs.

The companies include Raptor Pharma (RPTP), Ultragenyx (RARE), BioMarin (BMRN) and research center Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

1. Raptor Pharma

Raptor Pharma (RPTP) was acquired on September 12 by Dublin-based Horizon Pharma (HZNP) for about $800 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year. Raptor focuses on the rare disease market. The company has two products on the market. Procysbi is approved in the U.S. for nephropathic cystinosis in adults and children two years of age and older, and in Europe was approved in 2013 as an orphan drug to treat nephropathic cystinosis. Its other product is Quinsair, approved in Europe and Canada for chronic pulmonary infections due to pseudomonas aeruginosa in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF). It is not approved in the U.S. Raptor has approximately 158 employees.

2. Ultragenyx

Ultragenyx Pharma (RARE) also focuses on rare and ultra-rare diseases. The company recently announced it had enrolled its first patient in a Phase III clinical trial of its compound KRN23 in pediatric patients with X-linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH). This trial is in partnership with Japanese biopharma company Kyowa Hakko Kirin, which inked the deal in August 2013 to develop and commercialize KRN23. Ultragenyx went public in January 2014 and employs about 100 people.

3. BioMarin

BioMarin (BMRN) also focuses on rare diseases, specifically ones driven by genetic causes. Founded in 1997, the company employs about 2,200 people and brought in $890 million in revenue in 2015. On October 19, the company provided jinterim data on a Phase II clinical trial of vosoritide in children with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. The drug appears to have few or mild side effects, and to show decent efficacy in improving growth velocity.

4. The Buck Institute for Research on Aging

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging was launched in 1996, partly in response to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calling for the establishment of at least 10 Centers of Excellence to focus on the multi-disciplinary study of aging. It officially opened its doors on September 30, 1999. The institute is a not-for-profit research site with an annual budget of about $37 million, and has a cooperative agreement with the University of California’s Davis and Merced campuses to coordinate stem cell research. The institute has more than 250 researchers.

“Life sciences have become more important for Novato through the Buck Institute and other businesses such as Raptor Pharmaceutical and Ultragenyx,” Eyler noted in his report. “However, BioMarin has moved its corporate headquarters from Novato to San Rafael, but kept all of its manufacturing and most of its research operations in Novato.”

Those four companies also act as “attractors” to other life science companies. The report indicates that there is a minimum of 15 companies in Novato that “provide both measurable and predictive outcomes as life science businesses in all areas important to the city.”

The Marin Voice also points out that life science companies provide high-paying jobs and attract highly educated employees. This has an overall positive influence on the community that has ripple effects on housing values, commuting patterns, and families who expect and demand excellent schools.

Christopher Stewart, Novato’s economic development manager, said in an article in, “Life sciences companies now and into the future will be a significant contributor to our growth and to what makes the city a great place to live and to conduct business.”

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