CLSA Member Experts Present to California Legislative Staff Education Institute

Nov. 7, 2015

On Nov. 4, CLSA partnered with the California Legislative Staff Education Institute (CLSEI) to host a tour and educational briefing for 25 key bipartisan legislative staff members from the State Assembly and Senate. Top staff from the policy, fiscal, budget, and leadership offices in addition to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) participated in the program.
The tour and briefing provided legislative staff with a life sciences sector perspective on how state policy and finance choices affect their willingness to invest, innovate, and generally grow their business in California. Panelists included leaders from industry, the California State University (CSU) system and prominent venture capital firms.

The legislative staff began the day with a tour of start-up firm Nano Precision Medical, which is developing a miniature implant to provide long-term, constant-rate delivery of therapeutics into the blood stream.

Following the tour, the staff learned about the challenges and opportunities facing life sciences innovators from a group of panelists, including: Sara Radcliffe (President & CEO, California Life Sciences Association), Mike Boyd (Vice President, Government Affairs, AbbVie), and Dr. Aarif Khakoo (San Francisco Research Site Head, Amgen). They addressed both the difficulties and advantages of innovating in California, the effects of increasing competition in the drugs and devices marketplace, and the issue of drug pricing in both the United States and abroad.

Dr. Ken Drazan, Head of Innovation for Johnson and Johnson and member of the CLSA Board of Directors, took the opportunity to speak to legislative staff about the current state of the life sciences sector from the investor perspective. He emphasized the point that California’s life sciences ecosystem is unique: it is the only place in the world with all the factors needed to create and sustain a supportive environment for life sciences research, investment, entrepreneurship and innovation – and one many other countries around the world have attempted to reproduce.

The final panel of the day brought together Adam Mendelsohn of the device start-up Nano Precision Medical, David Beier of Bay City Capital, and Stephanie Couch, the Executive Director of the Institute for STEM Education at California State University East Bay, to discuss the challenges of growing a business in the life sciences sector. Panelists highlighted the importance of, and impediments to having an adequately educated workforce to fuel a growing life sciences industry, particularly in California. The panel also addressed how market forecasting plays a role in drug and device development from its earliest stages.

Eve Bukowski, CLSA’s Vice President of State Government Affairs, closed the event by underscoring key takeaways for legislative staff from the patient’s perspective. Since the initial feedback from attendees was very positive, CLSA staff plans to build on the success of this event and provide future educational programs for legislative staff. It is through educational programs, such as these, that the California State Legislature will gain a deeper understanding of both the importance and complexity of the life sciences ecosystem.

For questions, please contact Christina Hwee, CLSA’s State Government Relations Associate (