The Southern California Life Sciences Clusters

Life Sciences Clusters Overview:

The Southern California Life Sciences Clusters are created by bringing together world-class academic institutions (UCLA, USC, Caltech, UCSD, UCI,), top-notch research facilities (Scripps Research Institute), a close-knit medical community and Human and financial capital.
1,796 medical device and equipment manufacturing firms, and 1,453 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in California employ 298,700 people. That is more than the NJ, NY, MA corridor.

  • Los Angeles County – 58,400
  • San Diego County – 45,900
  • Orange County – 45,100

The California Pharma, BioTech and MedTech industry attracted an estimated $6.7B in VC capital. That represents more than 50% of the Nation’s Life Sciences VC investment. $3.7B more than all the VC capital invested the Massachusetts life sciences sector (the #1 cluster).
The NIH distributed $3.8 billion in research grants to California. More than any other State.
Of the top 10 Life Sciences clusters in the US (Boston is #1), 3 are based in California: San Francisco-Bay (#2) Area, Los Angeles/orange County (#9), San Diego (#4).

Opportunities for EU firms in the Life Sciences sector:

SoCal has several areas where lab space is readily available for small start-ups to do research. And, more lab space is being build.
Several local incubators and accelerators focus on the Life Sciences industry. Starting from Big Pharma interested to “incubate” new technology – like JLabs in San Diego, to organizations such as LARTA, Cedars-Sinai or OCTANe who have specific expertise in Medical Devices – and especially ophthalmology.
Companies find an elaborate investment environment for seed capital, early and later round of venture capital. While the “funding eco-system” in SoCal is not as well developed as Silicon Valley , money is much more accessible here than in Europe. There are a several VC’s in the area that focus on Life Sciences.
The SoCal Life Sciences eco-system counts many CMO’s (Contract Manufacturing Organizations), CRO’s (Contract Research Organizations), Life Science specific distribution and logistics companies. The clusters are supported by a very vibrant community of consultants. It is easy to find help with product development and design, quality, regulatory approval and commercialization.
The education system in the SoCal area produces an exceptional number of Life Science graduates. Just LA county produced more than 5,000 graduates in the Biotech field almost double the number of graduates in the entire Bay Area.

Dominant professional Organizations:

Two of the largest California industry organizations are:

  • CLSA : California Life Sciences Association: Long standing industry organization focused on the entire Life Sciences industry.
  • Biocom : Biotech oriented industry organization based in San Diego’s Biotech industry. Has recently grown outside its traditional coverage area. Now helps the County of Los Angeles in its efforts to create a local Los Angeles county cluster. Biocom is working towards expansion into the Medical Devices industry.

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