There are dramatic agricultural and lifestyle concerns from the crushing state-wide water shortage in California; a drought now well into its fourth year. Fortunately for the California economy and its life sciences industry, the drought is not in its labs and discovery centers.
A report published this week [11/12/15] from the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and PwC US confirms that life sciences employment growth, wages, research funding, and venture capital investment in California exceeds those of all other life sciences clusters in the US:
There are 1,235 new drugs in the development pipeline of California's pharma and biotech companies.
There are over 281,000 people employed in CA life science companies and another 581,000 indirectly employed in business and science-related work in CA.
In 2014, the 2,848 life sciences companies based in California generated $130 billion in revenue.
The life sciences industry paid its workers $30.6 billion in salaries and wages with an average annual salary of $108,893.
California scientists received $3.26 billion in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants in federal fiscal year 2015—the most of any state in the nation.
$4.79 billion in life sciences venture capital is projected to be invested in California companies in 2015 – more than double that of the second ranked state (Massachusetts).
From this life science executive's view, this innovation growth partially emanates from three key alliance traits found in "Left Coast" companies:
1) Willingness to Collaborate: Because of the frontier heritage of many biotech, diagnostic, and device executives; many who came from academia or didn't gravitate to the West Coast until the 90's, there is an almost genetic willingness to share and learn from one another. Nowhere is that more evident than in the efforts of incandescent incubators and life science promoting organizations such as CONNECT [ http://www.connect.org/ ] and BIOCOM [ https://biocom.org/ ]. Open networking and inter-center of excellence communication is leading to more rapid and through awareness. Unlikely partnerships born of an engineered web of informal meetings are not an uncommon success story in California.
2) Leveraging the Digital/Wireless Technology Convergence: An osmotic gradient of technology and Big Data flows toward life science companies as drug developers and pharma execs intermingle at work, conferences, and even in their neighborhoods with technology subject matter experts from Google, Qualcomm, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Intuit. California, in particular, SoCal / San Diego has become a hotbed for the convergence of digital/wireless software and diagnostic/device innovation.
Partnerships made of therapeutics with co-developed biomarkers, early-warning electronics, and smart-phone apps are now advancing personalized healthcare at Internet speeds. The patent-lives of drugs are now beginning to take on the much shorter life-cycles of software mandating that drug companies increase the rate of innovation.
3) Integration and Partnering with Academia: Life sciences research and new therapy development has benefited significantly through innovative alliances with the Salk Institute, Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute along with Stanford, UCSD, UCSF (and the whole UC research system), and countless other institutes. This was not accidental but the result of purposeful, careful collaboration. These partnerships have yielded real life-saving results.
So, if you're a life sciences company doing work in California and you haven't built alliance partnerships with other life science companies, digital health and wireless innovators, or medically-focused academia, you might want to revisit your strategic plans and get on this growth curve.