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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Report: San Diego no. 3 in nation for life sciences

June 25, 2014

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Timing is everything. With BIO 2014 in full swing, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has released its list of the top U.S. life sciences clusters. No stranger to life sciences stardom, San Diego comes in third on the list. From algae biofuels to genomics, medical devices, and even beer, San Diego has seen a strong surge of cross-convergence throughout the biotech sector.

San Diego’s innovation economy is anchored by our strong biotech cluster. Not only are we home to what MIT researchers have dubbed ‘The World’s Smartest Company’ – Illumina – but the region’s leadership in stem cell research and the mapping of the human genome is second to none,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC.

A combination of top-tier universities, a strong talent pool, and innovative companies have made San Diego a bio hub. Additionally, BIOCOM has worked to accelerate San Diego’s dynamic life sciences community.

This year’s rankings were based on life sciences employment concentration, employment growth, establishment concentration, venture capital funding and patents as well as NIH funding. If you are up on your rankings, you may realize that San Diego has dropped a spot since JLL 2013 rankings. In terms of job creation, San Diego is number one for life sciences employment concentration and number two for life sciences employment growth.

Adding employment growth and patent applications to the Global Life Sciences Cluster Report scorecard this year, two areas where the San Francisco Bay Area particularly excels, meant that San Diego dropped a spot from last year’s report,” said Brian Cooper, senior vice president at JLL. “However, as former president Bill Clinton declared on national television, San Diego has become the ‘human genome research capital in America,’ which bolsters our city’s strength in developing and supporting a collaborative cluster so attractive to emerging life science companies.”

One area where San Diego’s ranking has dropped is venture capital:  “Although we saw a dip in venture capital, this can be partially explained by the rise in local biotech companies going public. Last year was one of the strongest years for biotech IPOs in the past decade, which means in many cases companies did not need to raise late-stage money,” said Cafferty.

Eight San Diego companies went public in 2013 including Fate Therapeutics and Tandem Diabetes.