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CLSA in the LA Business Journal: L.A. Overtakes San Diego in Life Sciences Jobs

By Dana Bartholomew | Los Angeles Business Journal
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Employment in the Los Angeles life sciences sector has surpassed that of San Diego, vaulting the region to No. 2 in the Golden State, according to an industry report released Wednesday.

The report found more than 58,400 people in Los Angeles were employed in an industry sectors that includes biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and bioscience academic research.

The Bay Area, long the state’s No. 1 bioscience hub, led with 72,700 direct life sciences jobs. San Diego, which once ranked second, trailed Los Angeles with 46,000 jobs, followed by Orange County with 45,100 jobs. The Los Angeles region still trailed San Diego in terms of venture capital investment and the volume of federal grants.

The report, from the California Life Sciences Association, a biosciences trade group based in San Francisco, was co-authored by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. It found that the Golden State is home to the largest life sciences cluster in the world, and it continues to outpace other states in life science-related economic growth, venture funding and National Institutes of Health research grants.

“The life sciences industry is a shining example of how California is a driver in innovation,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, in an introduction to the study. “The industry, which began just 50 years ago, has made great strides to put California at the forefront of the biotech revolution.”

Biopharmaceutical and medical device employment in California grew 7.7 percent between 2012 and 2016. During the same period, such jobs in New York fell by 2 percent.

Highlights of the state’s $169 billion life sciences market include 299,000 residents directly employed by an industry that pays $113,000 in annual wages, fueled by $6.7 billion in venture capital and $3.8 billion in federal grants, the report said.

Los Angeles, which by some accounts commands a $40 billion life sciences market of between 400 and 600 local companies, stood second in total life sciences employment, but trailed in terms of wages and overall job growth.

According to the report, a life science worker in the Bay Area earned an average yearly income of $118,000, compared with $114,000 in San Diego County, $89,000 in Orange County and $73,000 in Los Angeles County.

At the same time, he number of life science jobs between 2015 and 2016 grew by 15.8 percent in San Diego, 6 percent in the Bay Area, 3.9 percent in Orange County and 0.2 percent in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, however, led state growth in life sciences and digital health venture capital investment. VC investment in the sector in Los Angeles surged 56.7 percent this year, to $564 million, while VC investment in San Diego fell 60 percent, from $1.1 billion to $688 million.

Digital health VC investment in Los Angeles rose a whopping 66.7 percent to $204 million from $68 million.

Meanwhile, two Los Angeles universities were among the leading recipients of NIH funding for life sciences. UCLA this year received $381 million and the University of Southern California received $208 million, according to the report.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

Read at the Los Angeles Business Journal.