California Sees Strong Growth in Its Life Sciences Sector, Survey Shows

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The life sciences industry has seen explosive advancement in California, eclipsing the national average of job growth by three-and-a-half times, according to the latest survey by the California Life Sciences Association, the trade association representing California’s life sciences industry.

The CLSA 2019 Report shows a 4.2 percent increase in job growth over the previous year, an increase of about 12,500 jobs. That stands to reason with an uptick of 169 new life science companies in California. The CLSA report provides a snapshot of the state’s life science industry and has been used for years by officials across California to help make key decisions about the industry.

According to the survey, which was provided to BioSpace ahead of the release, the life science industry was the biggest growth sector versus other tech sectors in California. The CLSA survey suggests that the total estimated annual revenue generated by the life science industry is $177.7 billion, which was an increase from $169 billion the previous year.

Job creation has been fairly significant. Between 2013 and 2017, biopharma and medical device employment in California grew 11.2 percent, according to the report. A breakdown of the key biotech areas of the state shows how each region has grown. The biotech hub in the Bay Area led California with more than 82,500 life science jobs, an increase of more than 11,200 over the previous year. The Los Angeles area hosted 57,100 jobs, an increase of 7,700 jobs over the previous years. The San Diego area includes 48,400 jobs, an increase of 6,500 jobs and Orange County saw a 4,500 job increase with 45,000 jobs.

Some of the other key figures in the report show:

  • There are 3,418 life science companies in the state
  • Those companies have 1,332 new assets in their pipelines
  • There is a total estimated employment of 311,226
  • More than 4,900 science and engineering PhDs were awarded in California last year
  • There was a combined total of $37.1 billion in estimated wages
  • Average bioscience industry wage is $119,070

Additionally, the CLSA report showed that the California life sciences industry leads the nation in being able to pull in the necessary funds to fuel growth. The state received the most grants for top universities last year, and venture capitalists are expected to provide more than $7.6 billion in funding for 2018. The report notes that that amount of VC financing is the most in the nation and is an increase over the previous year by $1 billion. The state is also projected to pull in about $3.9 billion in investments from the National Institutes of Health.

Gov. Jerry Brown hailed the continued growth of the life sciences industry in the state. He said that growth continues because of the groundbreaking therapies that are being developed, including treatments for cancer, hepatitis and heart disease.

Sara Radcliffe, president and chief executive officer of CLSA, said the figures show that the state’s life science industry continues to show tremendous growth and leads the nation in a number of areas, including top doctoral degree recipients, NIH grants and VC investments. Radcliffe said the state’s industry is providing new therapies for patients, as well as good jobs and a strong economic benefit to the people of California.

“As the trade association representing the industry, CLSA will continue to foster strong relationships with officials locally, in Sacramento and in Congress to ensure that California continues to foster biomedical research, economic investment and job creation,” Radcliffe said.

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