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2020 Life Sciences Sector Report from CLSA Shows Strong Growth in Jobs, Investments and Therapeutic Pipeline in California

California’s life sciences sector continues to lead the nation in economic growth and innovative activity:

  • Directly employed 323,723 Californians with an average salary of $123,000
  • Paid $6.4 billion in direct state and local taxes
  • Attracted $6.5 billion in venture capital and $4.5 billion in National Institutes of Health (NIH) investment
  • Over 1,350 new medicines in clinical trials, including COVID-19 therapies and vaccines

SAN FRANCISCO, SACRAMENTO, SAN DIEGO & WASHINGTON, DC – October 7, 2020

California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the trade association representing California’s life sciences industry, today released the 2020 California Life Sciences Sector Report, which shows that California’s life sciences sector directly employed 323,723 people, generated $191.6 billion in revenue, is projected to attract $6.5 billion in venture capital (VC) and received $4.5 billion in funding from the NIH. Produced with PwC US, the 2020 snapshot highlights the strength of California’s biomedical sector – the largest cluster in the world – as evidenced by significant increases in employment, earnings, graduating science and engineering PhDs, VC investment and potential new drugs and medical devices in the pipeline.

Key Highlights from 2020 California Life Sciences Sector Report

  • 4.0% increase in total life sciences jobs (up more than 12,000 from prior year), with companies directly employing 323,723 Californians – the most in the nation.
  • Total jobs created by the industry in California approaching 1 million, including approximately 621,000 indirect and induced employment.
  • There are 3,766 life sciences companies (up 348 from the prior year) in California, with 1,380 new therapies in the development pipeline, in addition to COVID19 therapies and vaccines.
  • California biomedical companies attracted more than 11% of the state’s total VC investment.
  • The state’s universities graduated over 4,900 science and engineering PhDs, leading the nation by a wide margin. Universities and research institutes also brought in $4.49 billion in NIH grants, which also led the nation.

California Governor Gavin Newson commented: “For decades, California’s life sciences sector has had profound impacts on patients and their families in the Golden State and around the world. As we grapple with a global pandemic, the world increasingly looks to California for life-saving solutions. We are prouder than ever of this sector’s relentless pursuit of medical breakthroughs— not to mention the ongoing development of tools to improve agriculture, increase clean energy production, mitigate climate change, and more.”

Mike Guerra, President and CEO of California Life Sciences Association, added: “Together, we have built something wonderful in California – a sector that we must preserve and improve. We have continued to work with industry, academia, and lawmakers to streamline regulations, increase education and research funding, improve the tax climate and deliver other policy changes that protect health innovation and patient access to care. All this while incubating the next generation of innovation through business leadership and a passion for the ecosystem that sustains our sector.”

Peter Claude, Partner, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences Advisory, PwC, remarked: “The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the value of the life sciences in treating, preventing, and innovating solutions to global challenges.  When we look at the numbers for the statewide life sciences sector, we are seeing remarkable success leading to breakthrough technologies that reach the medical needs of patients here and globally.”

Employment and Wages

  • 1 in jobs: Biotech and medical device employment in California combined grew 7.4% between 2013 and 2018.
  • The Bay Area led the state with 87,441 direct life sciences jobs (increase of nearly 5,000 from prior year). Los Angeles County following closely with 59,061 (increase of almost 2,000), while San Diego County directly employed 51,419 (increase of almost 3,000) and Orange County reported 48,173 direct life sciences jobs (increase of over 3,000).

Investments

  • No. 1 in venture capital life sciences investments: California continues to secure the most VC life sciences funding in the nation, with $6.5 billion in 2019. Massachusetts is the next closest state, with nearly $4.2 billion.
  • 1 in NIH grants: California scientists received almost $4.5 billion in NIH research grants (8,380 awards) in federal fiscal year 2019—the most of any state in the nation. Massachusetts received $2.96 billion and New York $2.83 billion.
  • No. 1 in clinical trials: California is home to nearly one quarter of all North American clinical trials. Public and private financial support for clinical research are all critical to supporting and expanding the number and reach of clinical trials. Private industry is still the single largest funder of clinical trials in the Golden State and across the U.S.

Total Number of Life Sciences Firms & Economic Impact

  • As a crucial economic driver, California life sciences companies are the second largest technical employment sector in our state.
  • Biomedical exports account for $24.3 billion and the industry and employees paid nearly $18 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
  • Home to 1,961 medical device and equipment manufacturing firms, and 1,805 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, California’s total 3,766 life sciences companies– 348 more than the previous year – produce new technologies to improve patient care and boost the state’s economy.

CLSA Board member comments on the 2020 California Life Sciences Sector Report

“Now more than ever, in the face of a global pandemic and with so many unmet patient needs, the life sciences sector is leading the way.  The last thing we should do, while innovators in California are working around the clock to combat COVID-19 while simultaneously conducting R&D into treatments that provide hope for patients and families battling other diseases, is threaten lifesaving work and high-paying jobs in an already weakened economy.  Recent policy proposals that jeopardize our innovative life sciences ecosystem and patient access to cutting-edge biomedical advancement could undo decades of innovation.” 

          Melinda Richter – Chair, CLSA Board of Directors

“The success of California’s life sciences ecosystem is built on sound, supportive practices that help medical technology companies like ours grow and thrive. Edwards Lifesciences was founded in 1958, and for more than 60 years, our spirit of innovation focused on helping patients has driven us forward.  It is this shared commitment to investing in education, developing thoughtful public policy and supporting research and development that has produced tremendous benefits for California, its life sciences companies and patients. These are the ideals that fuel innovation, and we look forward to continuing them for decades to come.”

          Dirksen Lehman – Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs, Edwards Lifesciences

“We have seen strong spending towards innovative technologies and platforms such as gene and cell therapies pursuing diseases in oncology, CNS, and rare diseases.  We have also observed COVID as a contributor to growth, despite some slowdown within parts of the sector, and COVID-19 almost becoming a new disease category in its own right with its own therapeutics and vaccines.  Continued investment is the lifeblood of this sector and the foundation for early stage research.”

          David Crean – Managing Director, Objective Capital Partners

Click here to download the full 2020 California Life Sciences Sector 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.  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 relationships 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.

Data Source: CLSA/PwC 2020 California Life Sciences Industry Report

Media Contact:

California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)

Oliver Rocroi | Vice President, Communications and External Affairs

Orocroi@califesciences.org | 916-588-0965