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California’s Life Science Industry Generates Almost $317 Billion Annually, Supports More Than 1.1 Million Jobs

Biocom’s 2017 Economic Impact Report underscores the significant contributions of the life science industry across California and in unique geographic clusters

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:39 pm PDT


"The Los Angeles life science industry is in a growth phase, with particular strength in biopharmaceuticals and life science wholesale trade"

San Diego — May 16, 2017 — Life science companies in California together generate nearly $317 billion in annual economic output, boost the state’s total gross product by $171.4 billion, support more than 1.1 million jobs and increase labor income by $92 billion per year. These are among the key findings of Biocom’s 2017 Economic Impact Report Databook, which sizes up the California life science industry through an analysis of economic, demographic and industry performance data.  

“California’s life science industry is a critical economic engine, providing well-paying jobs and contributing significantly to the state gross product,” said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom, the association representing the California life science industry. “Geographically, we have strength in life sciences across the state, but we also are home to several distinct regions of robust economic activity — each with a unique set of needs that must be addressed for the industry to continue making such major contributions.”

The report, authored by the economic and public policy firm TClower & Associates, shows that California is home to over 12,000 life science establishments, including academic institutions and both small and large businesses. Organizations in California received nearly $3.6 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health during 2016, the largest value in grants of all 50 states.

Los Angeles Life Science Industry
According to the report, Los Angeles County is home to more than 2,400 individual establishments in the life science industry, including 103 biopharmaceutical companies, 436 medical device and diagnostic companies and 787 research and lab support institutions. The industry employs nearly 70,000 people, generates $40.3 billion in county economic output and increases labor income by $11.9 billion. Its local establishments were awarded over $890 million in NIH research awards in the 2016 fiscal year. 

“The Los Angeles life science industry is in a growth phase, with particular strength in biopharmaceuticals and life science wholesale trade,” said Dina Lozofsky, executive director of Biocom’s Los Angeles office. “We are under-recognized as a cluster, perhaps because our 2,400 industry establishments are spread out throughout the county instead of having a natural hub, but Los Angeles county brings in more NIH dollars to California than any other county in the state, and we have distinct strength in manufacturing in life sciences, hearkening to Los Angeles’ historical strength in manufacturing.”

San Diego County Life Science Industry
With 1,200 unique life science establishments, San Diego County’s life science industry provides nearly 50,000 jobs and supports 133,000 jobs in the county, for a total countywide impact of more than 183,000 jobs. It generates $33.6 billion in economic output and adds $19.4 billion to the local gross product. Life science establishments brought over $832 million in NIH grants to San Diego during the 2016 fiscal year.

Importantly to the region, San Diego boasts a location quotient of 1.98. Location quotients, determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compare regional industry employment levels to the U.S. overall; and a figure greater than 1.2 indicates a competitive advantage. San Diego’s level exceeds that, and has increased from 1.81 in 2011.

Northern California Life Science Industry
Long recognized as a life science powerhouse, the nine counties that comprise Northern California’s life science industry generate almost $114 billion in economic output, employ 96,000 people and support more than 302,000 jobs. It all adds up to a region-wide impact of nearly 400,000 jobs and contributes $68.6 billion per year to the state gross product.

Northern California’s 2,472 life science institutions are spread out among many counties with 500 establishments in Alameda County, 291 in San Francisco County, 367 in San Mateo County and 704 in Santa Clara County.

“The life science industry, with its often near-philanthropic commitment to improving human health and the environment, is distinctly important to our economy and quality of life in California,” Panetta said. “It’s our vision at Biocom to empower all people in California — and across the county, frankly — to understand the important role of the life sciences in our state and to help the industry continue to prosper. As a unifying force for our state, Biocom is uniquely qualified to provide the tools to help each of California’s life science hubs expand, leveraging their individual strengths and areas of focus.”

Click here for California Fact Sheet

Click links below for fact sheets on specific life science communities:

-          Northern California

-          Southern California

-          Los Angeles County

-          Orange County

-          San Diego County

-          City of San Diego

About Biocom

Biocom is the largest, most experienced leader and advocate for California’s life science sector. We work on behalf of more than 900 member companies to drive public policy, build an enviable network of industry leaders, create access to capital, introduce and grow cutting-edge STEM education programs, and create robust value-driven group purchasing programs.

Founded in 1995 in San Diego, Biocom provides the strongest public voice to research institutions and companies that fuel the local and state-wide economy.  Our goal is simple: to help our members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition. In addition to its San Diego headquarters, Biocom operates a core office serving the Los Angeles market, satellite offices in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, and has a continuous staff presence in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Sacramento. Our broad membership benefits apply to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, genomics and diagnostics companies of all sizes, as well as to research universities and institutes, clinical research organizations, investors and service providers.

For more information on Biocom, please visit our website at Connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (@BIOCOMCA).

Biocom Media Contact:

Carolyn Hawley
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5382



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