Mayor, BIO Team up to Tout San Diego’s Life Sciences Community

Published: May 22, 2017

Mayor, BIO Team up to Tout San Diego’s Life Sciences Community May 22, 2017
By Josh Baxt, Breaking News Staff

In a warmup for the upcoming BIO International Convention next month, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined a group of life science leaders to share new data on the city’s biomedical economy and preview the upcoming event.

This will be the fourth time BIO has come to San Diego since 2001, and the speakers outlined why it was once again chosen as host city. To drive the point home, the news conference was held on a typically sunny morning against the backdrop of San Diego Bay.

“San Diego has one of the highest concentrations of biotech companies and academic research institutions, as well as skilled biotech workers,” noted Joanne Duncan, president of Membership and Business Operations for BIO.

Mayor Faulconer focused on the economic value of biomedical research and development, citing statistics from the 2017 California Economic Impact Report Databook, which was just released by San Diego-based biomedical advocacy organization, Biocom.

“San Diego’s life sciences community generates $36 billion in total economic impact,” said Mayor Faulconer. “It supports more than 1,000 companies and more than 50,000 jobs. We represent only one percent of the U.S. population in San Diego, but we received 22 percent of all genomics-specific venture capital in 2016.”

Duncan provided several convention highlights, including keynote speakers David Cameron, who will discuss Brexit and other topics, and Ann Romney, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and will describe her patient advocacy efforts. Other notable speakers include genomics pioneer and San Diego local Craig Venter as well as NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.

Duncan went on to detail some of the convention’s partnering opportunities and overall efforts to disseminate knowledge and enable deal making.

Duncan and Mayor Faulconer were joined onstage by Steven Mento, President and CEO of Conatus Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the 2017 Steering Committee, and fellow committee members Joseph Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom and Sara Radcliffe, president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA).

Radcliffe outlined the size and impact of San Diego’s biomedical hub and weighed in with figures from CLSA’s Life Sciences Industry Report.

“Academic researchers at Scripps, Salk and others make important discoveries almost daily,” said Radcliffe. “The industry is both an intellectual and economic engine…These regional successes are being replicated throughout the state. California is home to more than 3,000 life sciences companies, which employ more than 287,000 people.”

Mento discussed the BIO 5K Run/Walk, which will benefit Fisher House, an organization that provides housing for wounded warriors receiving treatment and their families. The run will be held the morning of June 19. Mento went on to describe BIO’s patient advocacy efforts.

“BIO established the Patient Advocacy Pavilion to elevate the profile and create a platform for patient advocacy and venture philanthropy organizations attending the convention,” said Mento. “These organizations are extremely sophisticated and are playing an integral role in the discovery and development of new treatments.”

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