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Bay Area Advocacy

Advocating for a Greater Life Science Future

Bay Area Policy Priorities

Access to Water
Access to Water

California recently experienced prolonged drought conditions, and mandatory water cutbacks were implemented throughout the state. While shutoffs were avoided, they are a continuing possibility during drought conditions. Since its inception, Biocom has communicated with legislators and regulators about how the life science industry uses water, and why reliable, constant access to water is necessary for our member companies to conduct daily business activities.
Biocom’s member companies reduce water use by employing cutting-edge water savings technologies, such as reverse osmosis capture and reuse, and the use of recycled water in cooling towers. Biocom has also supported practical ways to diversify water supply, such as indirect potable reuse and desalination, and has worked closely with local and state water officials to ensure consideration for the industry in new and existing regulations.


It is common knowledge that there is an extreme housing shortage in the Bay Area – the median price of a single-family home is $908,750. Only 17% of Bay Area residents can afford to purchase a median-priced house. Biocom supports incentivizing the building of additional middle-income housing units via a variety of approaches, including:

  • Exemption of middle-income housing from new/existing construction fees as appropriate
  • Increased density around transit hubs
  • Relaxation of parking and related requirements
Land Use
Land Use

In regional markets throughout California, land available for life science development is scarce. Preserving industrial land for manufacturing, research and development (R&D), and distribution is vital to long-term industry stability and growth. We also encourage local governments to identify and incentivize physical areas for life science establishments where appropriate.

Additionally, we have seen the results of collocation have detrimental impacts to life science facilities. Land zoning plans are created to provide sufficient space between industry and residential to avoid compatibility conflicts. Biocom understands the need for additional housing throughout the Bay Area to address continuing shortages and to house a growing workforce. Housing should be appropriately located and supported by necessary infrastructure and services.

Local Taxes and Fees
Local Taxes and Fees

At the local level, the implementation of new city taxes and fees can have detrimental effects on the development and production of new treatments. Biocom works with elected officials to educate them on the effects of new proposals on the life science industry and works to mitigate tax and fee impacts on our members.

We advocate for tax measures to be predictable, equitable, transparent, and stable. It is especially important that similar businesses have similar tax burdens.

Gross Receipts Tax

Gross receipts tax the total amount a company receives from all sources, without subtracting expenses or considering whether the company has a commercialized product. In some cases, these taxes are levied on grant funding (both government and disease foundations), upfront payments from licensing and partnering, and research reimbursements – sources that are not traditionally taxed.

Research has shown these taxes lead to lower hiring rates, and increased costs to consumers1. Recently, new gross receipts taxes have been levied or proposed on various commercial activities, leading to accumulating tax obligations.
Gross receipts taxes disproportionately impact companies with low or no profit margins, such as small and mid-sized life sciences. Adjusting corporate taxes to relieve this undue burden will encourage industry growth.


Transportation is a key element in the quality of life in the Bay Area, impacting the ability of employees to commute from work in a reasonable time as well as the ability of companies to attract the necessary workforce and transport goods and products. Investment in transportation infrastructure is critical for the Bay Area’s future growth and population needs.

As the life science industry continues to expand its research and development facilities, it is important for government entities to fund the necessary transportation improvement projects. Biocom supports a balanced regional transportation plan that includes both public transit and roadway expansion.


Bay Area Policy Committee
Bay Area Policy Committee

Biocom’s Bay Area Policy Committee meets on an ad-hoc basis to address policy issues in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This committee provides a forum for Biocom members to proactively deliver input on proposed legislative changes at city and county levels of government. It also conducts review and discussion of proposed Biocom legislative positions and votes on which ones merit Biocom positions, and what those positions should be.

Group participants have the opportunity to attend Biocom policy related events, including legislative roundtables and Biocom receptions for elected officials.

Committee contact: Melanie Cohn

Facilities/EH&S Committee – Bay Area
Facilities/EH&S Committee – Bay Area

The joint Facilities/EH&S committee provides a central forum in the Bay Area life science community for professionals working in these fields to share best practices, participate in continuing education opportunities, and design workshops and events.



Bay Area Policy Statements

Biocom Bay Area Policy Newsroom

Contact Information

  • Biocom Bay Area
  • For information on policy issues in the Bay Area, please contact Biocom’s Director of Regional Policy and Government Affairs Melanie Cohn at (858) 832-4158.


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