Bulletin, President's Corner

CLSA’s 2018 Year in Review

The California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), along with the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI), would like to thank everyone – members, board members, national organization partners, strategic partners, academic partners and the California life sciences community – for your membership, support and participation throughout the year.   As 2018 draws to a close, we’d like to share key milestones we accomplished as your trade association representing California’s life sciences sector:


In 2018, CLSA…

  • led the way in brokering a critical compromise between numerous stakeholders to reach a consensus on a solution that will establish a statewide drugs and sharps take-back collection program for unused prescriptions, discarded needles and other medical waste. After years of setbacks on a statewide solution, SB 212 was signed into law by Gov. Brown on Sept. 30.
  • helped lead coalition efforts to enact Senate Bill 1121, critical legislation that helps protect clinical trials conducted in California, which are the lifeblood of new and innovative medicines to treat patients in need.
  • …worked with fellow stakeholders to help secure the Governor’s signature on Assembly Bill 315, a bill to require more accountability for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
  • drove support for U.S. House repeal of the medical device excise tax. Due in part to CLSA’s efforts, 16 Democrats from the California Congressional Delegation voted to repeal the medical device tax – representing almost 28% of the total number of Democrats (57) who voted yea.
  • …aggressively grew our “Protect Access and Innovation” public affairs campaign, garnering 3.1 million ad impressions, reaching 585k individual targeted constituents, generating 162k video views, and earning 53k engagements regarding priority state and federal legislation of importance to the sector.
  • …helped drive support for $30 million in state budget for investment for Precision Medicine.
  • helped shepherd U.S. House passage of the Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, a bill critical to bolstering U.S. biodefense preparedness and response capabilities.
  • …worked with allies to drive passage and enactment of Assembly Bill 1860, a bill that helps keep cancer medicines affordable in California.
  • honored Senator Patricia Bates And Assemblymembers Heath Flora, Rob Bonta as champions of biomedical innovation at Back to Session Reception in Sacramento.
  • honored Representatives Ami Bera, MD, Raul Ruiz, MD, and Erik Paulsen with 2018 Visionary Awards for promoting policies that advance biomedical innovation at CLSA’s annual Washington, D.C. program.
  • …released our 2019 California Life Sciences Industry Report with PwC, which shows that California’s life sciences sector has over 1,300 medicines in the pipeline, directly employed 311,226 people, generated $178 billion in revenue, is projected to attract $7.6 billion in venture capital (VC) and received $3.9 billion in funding from the NIH.
  • …for the 6th year in a row, hosted our annual one-of-a-kind Life Sciences Academy, educatingstate legislators and staff on life sciences policy and business matters.
  • …digitally thanked over 45 federal and California state legislators for their support of biomedical innovation and R&D in California and we continue to grow our Digital Advocacy Center to help members contact their elected officials, stay informed about CLSA’s advocacy efforts, view priority legislation, and more.


In 2018, CLSA…

  • …added 255 new members to our statewide membership.
  • …launched our Digital Health Initiative in collaboration with board members and key industry experts – including our 2018 Evening with Thought Leaders in San Diego and our inaugural Digital Health Symposium in Orange County – to encourage and support advancements and innovation in California at the intersection of technology and healthcare.
  • celebrated our growth and expansion In the Bay Area with a new office in South San Francisco and anniversary parties celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the merger of BayBio and the California Healthcare Institute (CHI).
  • …celebrated our 15th Annual Pantheon DiNA™ Awards by awarding Life Sciences Leadership awards to George Scangos and Stelios Papadopoulos for their impact on the history of the life sciences sector in California, creating the Elizabeth Schar Life Sciences Educator award, and honoring visionary leaders and innovative treatments throughout California. See our press release and photos.
  • announced a new Accelerator collaboration between CLSA and OCTANe in Orange County.
  • announced Los Altos High School as the 2019 winner of the annual CLSA & CLSI Giants of Science competition, a program that awards $20,000 to deserving Bay Area high schools to support STEM education and the next generation of life sciences leaders.
  • …launched our first Sacramento networking event, Bio in the Capital, attended by more than 100 life sciences professionals.


In 2018, CLSI…

  • …brought thirteen companies through CLSI’s FAST Advisory Program in 2018.  As of this Fall, FAST now also includes 2-3 in-scope companies supported by CARB-X in each session. CLSI’s 63 FAST companies have collectively raised over $840M, 24 have Series A or higher investments, 14 companies are generating revenue, 5 have successfully exited, and 14 have formed strategic partnerships since leaving the program. FAST graduates have nearly tripled their workforce, creating 305 new jobs. This success is in part due to the over 6900 hours offered by CLSI’s network of over 300 advisors.
  • launched the biennial 2018 CA Workforce Trends Report with the Biocom Institute, identifying the most pressing talent needs of the California life sciences industry, at the BIO International Convention in June. The report was later presented at the HUB University HR conference in San Diego and at a legislative staffer’s briefing organized by Assembly pro tem Kevin Mullin.
  • selected the 2018 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, winner, Shloka Janapaty who went on to take Honorable Mention in the International BioGENEius Global Environmental Challenge at BIO 2018 for her research on a novel, fast, low-cost approach to achieving nearly 100% degradation of low-density polyethylene, a commonly used plastic that normally takes about a thousand years to degrade.
  • served over 2000 students in high schools and community colleges throughout the Bay Area with its partners through its Bio-Community and Career Pathways Programs. This included connecting students with industry volunteers for hands-on science, labs, career talks, speed networking, mock interviews, resume review, job shadowing, Capstone mentoring, and more.

It has certainly been an exciting year, and we look forward in 2019 to supporting every organization here in California that contributes to our world-leading life sciences ecosystem.


Happy holidays,

PS – Do you have newsworthy items to submit for consideration for our monthly CLSA Bulletin? Feel free to send them to Leimmi Zhang (