What’s up in California biotech? A better question might be, “What’s not?”
Genentech CEO Bill Anderson gathered with South San Francisco city and school district officials in September 2017 to open the new Science Garage lab and classroom at South San Francisco High School, part of a $7.8-million commitment from the company toward Futurelab, a partnership with the city’s school district to “build STEM competence and confidence for elementary through high school students in Genentech’s South San Francisco backyard.”
Its slogan? “The Future of Science is Here” — a statement that could easily be co-opted by the entire state.
The latest evidence came in November when the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and PwC US released their 2018 California Life Sciences Industry Report. Among its highlights:
“The life sciences industry is a shining example of how California is a driver in innovation,” said Governor Jerry Brown on the release of the report. “The industry, which began just 50 years ago, has made great strides to put California at the forefront of the biotech revolution — inventing new cures; dominating the nascent field of genomics; and blazing new trails in biofuels, agriculture and the microbiome.”
Peter Claude, a partner in PwC’s pharma and life sciences division said year-over-year improvements across nearly every measure — most notably the addition of 209 new firms — meant “California affirms its position as a fountain of innovation.”
Policies and places supporting that innovation play a big part, and 2017 was no exception. The state’s biennial budget included an investment of $10 million in the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM). And the CLSA’s California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) has expanded its FAST Accelerator program from the Bay Area to new sites in Davis and in Southern California. The 34 companies that had graduated from the initial Accelerator during its first four years have created more than 125 new jobs.