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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom CEO Presents to San Diego Council Committee, LA Industry Group

  • 2020-09-24T14:30:00.000+0000
  • Author: Melanie Cohn

Biocom’s President and CEO Joe Panetta was asked to give two “State of the Industry” presentations to local decision makers in San Diego and Los Angeles the week of September 7th. San Diego Councilmember Chris Cate, Chair of the council’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, invited Joe to share Biocom’s 2020 Economic Impact Report and local work around COVID-19 at the committee’s September 9th meeting.

Our Biocom 2020 Economic Impact Report shows that the City of San Diego is home to over 600 life science establishments, supporting over 84,000 jobs with an average salary of almost $142,000 per year. In 2019, we brought $995 million in grants to San Diego from the National Institutes of Health. Our industry contributed $19.6 billion to the city’s economy last year.

Joe spoke about the many companies working locally on COVID-19 vaccine candidates, testing technologies and accessibility, hospital-based treatments, and research projects that leverage potential COVID-19 solutions which have already been deemed safe. The industry, known for its collaboration, is putting aside propriety concerns to focus on working together to tackle the disease.

Finally, Joe shared our local policy priorities for San Diego with committee members Cate, Montgomery, Ward, and Kersey. Founded in San Diego in 1995 around the issue of access to water, Biocom continues to advocate for dependable utility access, land use incentives, and consistent permitting processes for our members here. Recently, we have been diversifying our San Diego policy work to include advocacy for expanded transportation networks, the building of middle-income housing, and enhanced infrastructure maintenance as these issues become more important for employee attraction and retention throughout the region.

Similarly, in Los Angeles Joe gave a presentation on September 10th to the Valley Industry Commerce Association (VICA) Healthcare Committee, made up of health providers and organizations, and elected offices.

The life science industry contributed $44.2 billion to the LA County economy in 2019. The average life science employee in the county makes $86,500. Not all these jobs require advanced degrees; as the cluster becomes more developed, programs with the California State University system and community colleges become a gateway into the industry and career track jobs. Notably, NIH funding in LA County came in at $1.15 billion, 10% higher than San Diego County.

Joe also shared developments from LA companies working on COVID-19 solutions. Treatments are being manufactured in the county, and multiple companies are working on potential antibody candidates. Research institutions like the Lundquist Institute are accelerating the development of a robust Los Angeles life science cluster, as shown through their COVID-19 work. The Institute has multiple research efforts underway, including identifying biomarkers for predicting COVID-19 outcomes, discovering metabolic and neuroinflammatory responses to infection, and conducting multiple clinical trials of convalescent plasma and use of monoclonal antibodies. This month they administered the first doses of the promising Astra-Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate to patients in a Phase 3 trial.

These presentations allowed Biocom to share the groundbreaking work our members are doing to address COVID-19, including diagnostics/treatments, testing, and vaccines. As essential businesses, our members doing this important work are demonstrating the industry’s economic resilience through uncertain economic times.