President’s Message – Q3 2019

By: Mike Guerra
CLSA President & CEO

September 25, 2019 

As our third quarter draws to a close, California’s life sciences sector stands poised to finish 2019 strong and face the challenges and opportunities of a new decade. Over the last three months, CLSA has convened various segments of our sector to discuss and determine what comes next, including:

  • In August, we convened an Evening with Thought Leaders: State of the Sector discussion featuring BIO President & CEO and former Congressman Jim Greenwood, AdvaMed Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Executive Vice President for Technology & Regulatory Affairs Janet Trunzo, and CLSA Board Chair, Melinda Richter, Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS
  • In September, CLSA launched the first California-focused Digital Health Trends Report this month with Accenture
  • CLSI continued its ground-breaking work to support international startups
  • CLSA’s Federal and State Advocacy Teams continue to advocate for policies that protect and accelerate our states innovative life sciences innovation ecosystem

I am proud to lead an organization whose employees are passionate about their work because our members create life-changing and world-changing therapies and products every day.

I hope you find this quarterly President’s Message useful for staying apprised of our policy work, programs, thought leadership and entrepreneurial support.  I look forward to connecting with all of you through the work we do moving forward, including at our fantastic 2019 Pantheon DiNA Awards™ event in San Francisco on November 15th. If you have questions about upcoming programs or other CLSA activities, you may reach me directly at


Mike Guerra

President & Chief Executive Officer
California Life Sciences Association

CLSA’s Key 3:

ADVOCATE: In Sacramento, CLSA is eagerly anticipating Governor Newsom’s decision on a number of bills of importance to California’s innovative life sciences sector. Of particular significance, this past legislative session CLSA secured a key victory for precision medicine in the state budget. On June 27, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s $215 billion 2019-2020 budget. Of the Governor’s three line-item vetoes, one was made at the request of CLSA to remove restrictions on the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine’s (CIAPM) ability to spend funds. I couldn’t be prouder of our State Government Relations Team for working closely with the Governor and securing this important victory for the life sciences sector. Learn more.

At the federal level, CLSA continues to actively engage on issues of top priority to our members. In particular, with the unveiling of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-San Francisco) long awaited drug pricing legislation last week (see our statement on H.R. 3), CLSA has amped up its advocacy in opposition to this sweeping proposal to import to the U.S. most domestic drug pricing decision-making from European government bureaucrats, and eviscerate the free market model that has promoted innovation, cures and treatments for millions of patients. In my recent op-ed published last week in Morning Consult, I wrote about the dangers posed by utilizing foreign price controls as a mechanism to lower drug costs.

CLSA’s Federal Government Relations Team, in coordination with our membership and allied stakeholders, continues working to engage members of the California congressional delegation on the risks of foreign reference pricing. You can help: Take Action to urge Congress to reject foreign price controls and defend patient access to prescription drugs in Medicare Part B, Part D and in the commercial market. Please also read more about the ways CLSA continues to take a leading role in calling for a repeal of the medical device tax and supporting robust federal funding for the NIH and federal research agencies.

CONNECT: On Sept. 17, CLSA & Accenture released the 2019 Digital Health Trends Report, a comprehensive research report highlighting the internal and external challenges and opportunities for California life sciences companies invested in digital health innovation. We were pleased to have CLSI President Lori Lindburg join a panel that reviewed the talent shortages in the digital health sector, and strategies for meeting that demand. Download the report or share the news on LinkedIn and Twitter.

On Aug. 23, CLSA also hosted a medical technology showcase in Sacramento. Seventeen members of the California State Legislature, plus legislative staff and members of the community were able to see first-hand the incredible value that California’s medical technology sector is bringing to patients and the economy. Learn more.

INNOVATE: The emerging companies are well underway! The FAST and FAST International programs tap the deep experience of CLSI’s Advisory Network of over 380 Bay Area industry veterans to provide commercialization strategy for early-stage life science startups, while helping early-stage foreign companies gain a foothold in U.S. markets. In addition to local startups, CLSI will be working with Canadian and Australian startups and emerging companies, the former of which will join our Bay Area companies in the FAST International Showcase on December 10. For more information, contact or