Possible new Life Sciences Hub in Los Angeles

Oct. 21, 2018
By Oliver Rocroi

California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) welcomes the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) vision to begin the RFQ/RFP process for the development of a biomedical complex on the LAWA northside area site. This concept will greatly bolster California’s ability to keep up with the needs of the sector and further provide economic development opportunities for innovative life science companies. The Summary of the RFQ can be found here, and a link to the preliminary environmental impact reports can be found here.

For years, the Bay Area and San Diego have been the pillars poles of California’s entrepreneurial life sciences culture. Despite its size and strength in entertainment, agriculture and other sectors, Los Angeles has remained relatively quiet. While the two existing hubs provide incredible value for innovation and research, the amount of available land and the high costs associated with housing and transportation somewhat limit long term growth.  Expanding the availability of innovation complexes such as the one proposed for the northside area are in our collective best interests.

As noted in the 2017 CLSA annual California Life Sciences Industry Report, “Los Angeles metro area produces more biology graduates than any other city in America,” says Llewellyn Cox, PhD, who founded Lab Launch, a biotech incubator network based in Monrovia. “But all these UCLA and USC spinouts seem to start up in San Francisco or San Diego. Lab Launch was born out of the frustration of watching our friends leave town to start businesses.”

California has a strong and diverse economy, powered by information technologies, agriculture, energy, tourism and the life sciences. Second to life-saving products, excellent jobs may be the biomedical community’s greatest contribution to the state. In 2018, California life sciences companies employed more than 298,000 people.  These jobs run the gamut from academic research to bioengineering to wholesale trade.

The proximity of world class university and private research centers, coupled with a strong track record of translating lab science into products that help patients and consumers, the state has long been a magnet for investment, and there is no reason why Los Angeles could and should not emerge as a catalyst for future growth.

California has a unique history of innovation: from agriculture to the film industry to information technology to life sciences. As a group, Californians have repeatedly devised new technologies, and better ways to use old technologies, to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems and this project has the potential to solidify our state’s leadership role for years to come.

For more information, please contact Oliver Rocroi, CLSA’s Senior Director State Government Relations at