Top 5 Bay Area Biomed Hot Spots

Published: Jun 30, 2016

Top 5 Bay Area Biomed Hot Spots June 30, 2016
By Renee Morad for

Drug pricing might be dominating biomedical headlines these days, but there’s a lot more happening beneath the surface that’s driving innovation—specifically in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. In this region, a vibrant and robust biomedical industry is quickly growing.

Today, the Bay Area is home to more than 1,100 biomedical companies and 140,000 biomedical jobs, according to the Biomedical Manufacturing Network—and within the next two years, an estimated 14,000 more biomed jobs in the Bay Area are expected to surface.

Gregory Theyel, program director of the Biomedical Manufacturing Network, says leading universities, top talent and strong venture capital activity continue to attract biomed companies to the area, and this holds true for both large companies and startups that want to set roots near larger biomed companies they plan to partner with.

An underlying theme for Bay Area biomed: precision medicine, in which an integration of various areas of expertise are taking hold, such as data management and analytics, biological and genomic expertise and software. “If there’s one place to be for biomed, this is most certainly the place to be,” Theyel says.

Kelly Kline, Fremont’s economic development director and chief innovation officer, says biomed companies are also focusing on the emergence of personal health and lifestyle advancement driven by the Internet of Things, with products ranging from anti-gravity treadmills to digital monitoring of personal health care. Meanwhile, the region is seeing a high volume of startups specializing in making devices or equipment that are looking to “marry up with existing manufacturers,” she explains.

Below are the top five biomed hot spots in the Bay Area (listed in no particular order), according to the Biomedical Manufacturing Network. “They [cities] were simply called out because they serve as examples of several different dynamics we see within the biomedical industry in the Bay Area,” Kline told BioSpace .

In these regions, job opportunities range from automation engineer and clinical development engineer to quality systems and compliance staff.

Top 5 Biomed Hot Spots in the Bay Area
Sr. Quality Engineer
St. Jude Medical
Clinical Research Associate II
San Jose
Regulatory Affairs Analyst
San Francisco
Twist Bioscience
Research Scientist, Molecular Biology
Quality GCP Compliance Mgr.

Fremont’s high concentration of contract manufacturing and manufacturing machine design resources leads the way for local biomed companies specializing in medical equipment. In fact, the city of Fremont has the largest concentration of biomedical manufacturing companies in the Bay Area, at 47 companies.

Biomed manufacturing companies in this region include AlterG, THINK Surgical, Thermo Fisher Scientific , Boehringer Ingelheim, Ardelyx and Zosano Pharma . MyoScience, also in Fremont, has made recent headlines for its breakthrough pain therapy device iovera, which provides an immediate nerve block for patients such as those undergoing total knee replacement.

"Fremont provides the right balance for location and opportunity in the Bay Area. It is centrally located which helps attract the best talent and the city is incredibly easy to work with as a new business. The city is growing and we are proud to be a member of such a prominent group of businesses that have set up shop here," Johanna Beckmen, vice president of sales & marketing of Myoscience, told exclusively to BioSpace.

Sunnyvale is located at the crossroads of many industries, from electronics, software and hardware to testing, sterilization and life sciences. As a result, this region is home to many companies that specialize in medical equipment and medical devices.

Cepheid aims to enable molecular diagnostic testing of any patient specimen on a centralized or disseminated basis in order to help medical providers identify and treat diseases early and increase opportunities to improve survival and quality of life. Another company in Sunnyvale, St. Jude Medical , is at the forefront of providing innovative solutions, such as artificial heart valves, tissue valves and cardiac pacemakers.

San Jose
Like Sunnyvale, San Jose is also a hot spot for medical equipment and devices, and continues to draw talent with solid manufacturing experience.

With 421 Bay Area companies in the medical equipment category, San Jose is recognized as a stand out city in this sector, along with Sunnyvale and Fremont. There are another 152 companies in the medical device sector, where San Jose is also a major hub of activity, in addition to Sunnyvale and Mountain View.

San Jose is home to biomed leading companies such as Stryker , offering a diverse array of products in orthopaedics, medical, surgical, neurotechnology and spine to help improve patient and hospital outcomes.

San Francisco
San Francisco has a high concentration of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and incubator programs like IndieBio are contributing to the acceleration of startups.

In the Bay Area alone, there are 315 pharma companies (with the majority of these located in South San Francisco, San Francisco and Palo Alto) and 294 biotech companies (with the majority located in the same regions as pharma), says the Biomedical Manufacturing Network.

Biomed companies in this hot spot include Abbott Laboratories and Twist Biosciences. Abbott employs 74,000 people globally and the company reported sales revenue of $20.4 billion in 2015. Twist Bioscience is developing a disruptive Synthetic DNA technology that will change the world, enabling widespread health and sustainability. Twist offers best-in-class compensation and equity depending on experience. Cortexyme, also in San Francisco, is focusing on innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative disorders.

Like San Francisco, Berkeley also has a high concentration of biotech and pharma companies. Here, research and development focus with many connections to regional universities and labs, such as UC Berkeley, and as a result, there’s a highly educated workforce, with many candidates with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

In Berkeley, biopharmaceutical company Dynavax is focusing on ways to utilize the immune system to prevent and fight disease. Meanwhile, Aduro Biotech is working on the discovery, development and commercialization of immunotherapies. At 31-years-old, Rachel Haurwitz helms Caribou Biosciences, one of the companies on the cusp of gene editing breakthroughs in the United States using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology.

Pharma, in particular, seems to be the leading area of new job growth in the Bay Area within the next two years, according to the Biomedical Manufacturing Network. In fact, more than 6,000 new jobs in drugs and pharma in the Bay Area are expected to emerge within the next two years.

Check out the cool infographic! Biomedical Manufacturing Drives Innovation in the San Francisco Bay Area

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