2018 Report From California Life Sciences Association, PwC Details New Peaks for Life Sciences Industry in California

Nov. 15, 2017 14:00 UTC

2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report finds the sector:

  • Directly employed 298,709 Californians;
  • Paid $113,000 in average wages;
  • Projected to attract $6.7 billion in VC investment;
  • Attracted $3.8 billion in NIH Grants;
  • Brought in $169 billion in total estimated revenue;
  • Has 1,274 medicines in the pipeline.

SAN FRANCISCO & SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, the California Life Sciences Association, the public policy and business leadership trade association representing California’s life sciences industry, and PwC US released their annual California Life Sciences Industry Report, which provides a snapshot of the largest life sciences cluster in the world. The 2018 report shows that California continues to outpace other states in life science-related economic growth, including venture funding, National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, digital health venture funding, and is producing nearly 300,000 jobs and shepherding more than a thousand new therapies through the pipeline.

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Cover of California Life Sciences Association's (CLSA) & PwC's 2018 California Life Sciences Industr ...

Cover of California Life Sciences Association's (CLSA) & PwC's 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report. Get your copy at: www.califesciencesindustry.com. (Photo: Business Wire)

Key highlights of the 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report include:

  • 3,249 life sciences companies in California had 1,274 new therapies in the development pipeline.
  • Life sciences companies directly employed 298,709 people in California – the most in the nation – with annual wages averaging $113,000.
  • Indirect and induced employment bring that total up to 919,700.
  • California biomedical companies are projected to attracted more than $6.7 billion in venture capital, an increase of over $2 billion from 2016.
  • California has a 53.2% share of the nation’s life sciences VC investment.
  • NIH distributed $3.8 billion in research grants to California institutions to drive basic research, outpacing all other states.

California Governor Jerry Brown commented: “The life sciences industry is a shining example of how California is a driver in innovation. The industry, which began just 50 years ago, has made great strides to put California at the forefront of the biotech revolution—inventing new cures; dominating the nascent field of genomics; and blazing new trails in biofuels, agriculture and the microbiome. The California Life Sciences Association is a key partner in cultivating this sector and increasing the state’s efforts to foster a stronger life sciences industry and boost job growth in California.”

Sara Radcliffe, President and CEO of California Life Sciences Association, added: “The life sciences sector continues to drive the 21st century economy here in California – the birthplace of biotech. As home to 11 of the world’s top universities, California garners more federal biomedical research dollars than any other state. The life sciences sector is a state resource that requires nurturing and stewardship. As the trade association representing the industry, CLSA will continue working with officials at all levels – locally, in Sacramento and in Congress – to ensure that California preserves this strategic advantage that fosters biomedical research, economic investment and job creation.”

Employment and Wages

  • No. 1 in jobs: Biopharmaceutical and medical device employment in California combined grew 7.7% between 2012 and 2016. By contrast, during that same period, those numbers declined by 2% in the second-ranked New York.
  • The life sciences directly employed 298,709 people throughout the state, and indirect and induced jobs add another 621,000 – totaling 919,710 total jobs created by the industry in California.
  • The Bay Area led the state with over 72,600 direct life sciences jobs. Los Angeles County following closely with 58,400, while San Diego County employed 45,950 and Orange County reported 45,100 life sciences jobs.
  • The industry paid workers $34.0 billion in salaries and wages during 2016 with the average annual wage of $113,000.


  • No. 1 in venture capital life sciences investments: California is projected to secure the most VC life sciences funding in the nation, with $6.7 billion expected in 2017, an increase of over $2 billion from the previous year. This is 53.2% of the nation’s entire expected life sciences VC investment in 2017. Massachusetts is projected to be second with nearly $3 billion.
  • No. 1 in NIH grants: California scientists received over $3.8 billion in NIH research grants (7,836 awards) in federal fiscal year 2017—the most of any state in the nation. Massachusetts received $2.7 billion, over $1 billion less.
  • No. 1 in digital health VC investment: California’s digital health sector is projected to attract $2.3 billion in digital health VC investment for 2017, leading the nation. New York is projected to be second, receiving over $1 billion less. Over $1.7 billion of the digital health funding flowed to the Bay Area. Orange County and Los Angeles County ranked second and third respectively, receiving a combined $423 million.

Life Sciences Firms & Economic Impact

  • California is home to 1,796 medical device and equipment manufacturing firms, and 1,453 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Collectively, these total 3,249 life sciences companies in California – 209 more than the previous year – producing new technologies to improve patient care and boosting the state’s economy.
  • With revenues at $169 billion, California life sciences companies were responsible for $22.7 billion in exports and paid $17.3 billion in federal, California state and local taxes.

Peter Claude, Partner, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences Advisory, PwC, remarked: “The economic data is incredibly strong for California’s life sciences industry. California’s life sciences ecosystem is running on all cylinders from basic research to drug and device development to commercialization. Innovative companies are developing groundbreaking therapies with enormous potential to solve many of our unmet medical needs. On top of that, the industry is a magnet for both public and private investment and generates excellent jobs throughout the state.”

Regional Spotlight: San Diego County

  • The report also zooms in on San Diego, which has been a life sciences hub since Hybritech, the city’s first biotech, went public in 1981. The city’s biomedical community showed the most significant growth, with a 12.5% growth in biopharmaceutical jobs and 21.9% growth in medical device jobs, and 10% growth in R&D employment. Key San Diego industry leaders provide analysis on the region. San Diego boasts a robust scientific root system, including several world-class academic research institutions, a defining entrepreneurial spirit and a highly collaborative culture.
  • Data shows that the top NIH grant recipients in San Diego County attracted over $800 million in research grants, and is projected to receive $668 million in life sciences venture funding. The region employs 45,959, with an average wage of $115,500. R&D and lab testing make up the bulk of the jobs, with medical devices being the second largest employer.

“San Diego is such fertile ground for the life sciences,” added Radcliffe. “Academic institutions like Scripps, UC San Diego and Sanford Burnham Prebys produce entrepreneurs and an amazing workforce. The city attracts VCs and angel investors, as well as many large pharmaceutical companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Novartis.”

Click here to download the full 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report

About California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)

California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) is the state’s largest and most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization. With offices in Sacramento, San Diego, South San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC, CLSA works closely with industry, government, academia and others to shape public policy, improve access to innovative technologies and grow California’s life sciences economy. CLSA serves biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, research universities and institutes, investors and service providers throughout the Golden State. CLSA was founded in 2015 when the Bay Area Bioscience Association (BayBio) and the California Healthcare Institute (CHI) merged. Visit CLSA at www.califesciences.org, and follow us on Twitter @CALifeSciences, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About PwC

PwC’s Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry Group helps organizations – from biopharmaceutical and medical technology firms to generic manufacturers – better connect to consumer needs to develop and deliver the treatments of tomorrow. We work with clients to uncover their most valuable strengths, identify complementary partnerships and keep up with the latest advances in technology, so they can better compete in an evolving health market and improve cost-efficiency and profitability. For more information visit: www.pwc.com/us/pharma.


California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)
Will Zasadny | Director, Communications
Wzasadny@califesciences.org | 619-961-8848

Source: California Life Sciences Association

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Cover of California Life Sciences Association's (CLSA) & PwC's 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report. Get your copy at: www.califesciencesindustry.com. (Photo: Business Wire)

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