President's Corner

An Honor to Serve the Bay Area Community

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The merger of BayBio and CHI will close soon, ending 25 years of BayBio’s stewardship of the life science industry.  For the last five of these years, I have had the good fortune to work with the wonderful, dedicated team at BayBio to support you and our community.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is whether the Bay Area is still the number one life science cluster.  Frankly, I’ve grown weary of the debate.  Our sound-bite culture often reduces everything to rankings and top 10 lists, yet numbers rarely tell a complete story.   The Bay Area is at the forefront of innovation, which inherently involves risk, making our economy more volatile than others.  Through numerous economic cycles our region has experienced higher highs and lower lows.  In today’s boom market, strictly by the numbers, we are once again on top by most counts.  But numbers aside, this is what I know.

We dream big.  Maybe it’s the boundless vista from a Sierra peak or a Pacific sunset, or perhaps it’s witnessing entrepreneurs changing the world from a garage.  Whatever it is, we dream the impossible and then make it reality:  precision medicines that turn cancer into a treatable, chronic disease; jets that fly on biofuels made from algae; decades of life added to patients with HIV; consumer genome sequencing that puts Moore’s law to shame.  And we continue to dream big, tackling aging and regenerative medicine.

We are an entrepreneurial hotbed.  We have an ecosystem and culture where entrepreneurs thrive:  numerous incubators and infrastructure to nurture start-ups; an unparalleled concentration of venture and angel investors, and an abundance of experienced professionals to provide mentorship and advice.  We have well over 500 seed stage life science companies in our region.  No wonder entrepreneurs from around the world flock to the Bay Area to start their companies.

We are a nexus for digital health.  Digital health is the fastest growing life science sector, with the power to transform every aspect of healthcare and drug development.   With high tech and biotech companies literally back-to-back, venture firms with dual tech and life science funds, and our passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Bay Area is the logical leader in this sector.

Each day I am in awe of the creativity and ingenuity of R&D teams developing breakthrough products.   I am inspired by the dedication and compassion of employees working to bring new treatments to patients.  And I am grateful for the life science professionals who share their experience to mentor and advise the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs. However the numbers may fluctuate, there can be no doubt that the Bay Area is a very special place.

I’d like to thank the talented staff of BayBio for their tremendous dedication and passion, the Board of BayBio for their guidance and support, and all of our members, Partners and sponsors for their active participation and commitment to building a stronger community.  I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with you, and to count so many of you as friends.

It has been a true privilege to serve the industry that has given me so much both professionally and personally.   With the merger, I leave support for the region’s life science community in the capable hands of Sara Radcliffe.  I hope that she will find the job as rewarding as I have.

I look forward to staying in touch with you; please find me on Linked In.

Gail Maderis