Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Life Sciences

August 23, 2018

Last week, EDC welcomed a group of next-gen life sciences leaders to San Diego for an exclusive tour of the region’s life sciences industry. Over two days, 26 eager PhD candidates representing 15 schools across 11 states paid visits to seven local employers including ResMed, Takeda, BD, Janssen/JLABS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dexcom, and Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. Upon completion of their PhD program, these students will enter high-demand occupations within the life sciences industry – namely, positions in bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, and more. Our hope is that they chose to do so in our region.

EDC launched the San Diego Life Sciences Trek in 2017 as a strategy for attracting talent to support the growth of the region’s life sciences industry, mirroring the more typical MBA Trek model. Across the globe, leaders in genomics and connected health are gathering incomprehensible amounts of data with the power to unlock the human genome, make personalized care a reality, and enhance the way we live on a massive scale. Individuals skilled in bioinformatics, data science, and computational biology are instrumental in deciphering such data sets – a task with stunning implications across pharma, biotech, healthcare, genomics, and much more – and are thus highly sought after by companies and regions alike. The battle for talent is heating up.

Many trek participants attend this two-day program because they are curious about a career in industry, but with backgrounds in academia, have had limited opportunities to explore what one might look like. The Life Sciences Trek provides students a chance to get out from behind the lab bench to tour companies, talk with real professionals, and learn how their skills can be applied in life-changing companies in San Diego.

Through company tours, panel discussions, presentations, and a networking reception, students gained access to influential researchers and executives across leading life sciences employers. From drug discovery to connected devices, genetic sequencing to direct patient care, the breadth of opportunities for bioinformaticians became apparent within San Diego’s diverse life sciences ecosystem. In fact, after attending the trek, 90 percent of participants indicated that they plan to pursue a career in San Diego upon completion of their PhD program.

Below are their thoughts. See more at #SDlifesciencestrek.

“It was a fantastic experience for someone who's always been immersed in academia, but is interested in the industry.”

– PhD candidate in Bioinformatics, University of Michigan

“This was an incredible opportunity to network with the scientists that could be involved in hiring you in the future. It was an indispensable experience to see first hand the types of jobs that recent PhD graduates could be qualified for.”

– PhD candidate in Neuroscience, University of Southern California

“Seeing the positive testimonials from all the people at the companies regardless of their position about work-life culture will make me prioritize San Diego as my primary target for future job applications.”

 – PhD candidate in Animal Biology with a focus on Biotechnology, UC Davis

“The trek was really eye-opening and definitely changed my perspective about potentially pursuing a career there!”

– PhD candidate in Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California

“The SD trek is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with biotech opportunities in SD and to learn about a great town with a lot of potential for aspiring scientists.”

– PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth College

 

The trek group represented 15 schools: Carnegie Melon, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Ohio State, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, University of Southern California, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Texas. 


Trek highlights: Surprise guest Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and Guinness World Record holder for fastest genetic diagnosis through DNA sequencing.

  

You can't talk about San Diego life sciences without talking about startups. Trek participants tour JLABS followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ashley Van Zeeland, co-founder of Cypher Genomics and former CTO of Human Longevity.

 

 

May 18, 2018

The first cohort of biomanufacturing students at MiraCosta College is half way through their two-year bachelor’s degree program. That’s right – Oceanside-based MiraCosta Community College is one of only 15 community colleges in California to offer a bachelor’s degree program (114 total community colleges in CA). MiraCosta’s existing biotech associates degree program, which is the oldest in the county, helped the school gain prowess as a leading community college focused on life sciences. Building on that success, this new bachelor’s program will prepare students for work within San Diego’s lucrative biotechnology industry. The pioneer behind the program is Mike Fino: a UC San Diego Jacobs School alum, former industry researcher in regenerative medicine, and current Dean of Math & Sciences at MiraCosta.

With a background in industry, Mike Fino made the ideal moderator for EDC’s Link to San Diego: Life Sciences event at MiraCosta College in May. Formatted as a panel discussion followed by a networking session, Link to San Diego: Life Sciences welcomed representatives from Human Longevity Inc., Genentech, and BD to campus to speak about industry trends and lend advice to students on how they can prepare for a career in the San Diego industry. While open to all students, the program was primarily designed for MiraCosta’s biomanufacturing students to begin making industry connections and thinking about next steps as they work through their program.

The group of students who attended came prepared with resumes and thoughtful questions for the speakers. MiraCosta’s biomanufacturing BA program is a prime example of how San Diego’s community college system prepares its students based on the needs of our local economy, providing opportunities and value for residents and employers alike. Now, it’s our job to keep this bright and eager talent pool in San Diego.

May 17, 2018

 

In San Diego, leaders in genomics and connected health are making life-changing breakthroughs every day: unlocking the power of the human genome, turning personalized medicine into reality, and enhancing the way we live on a massive scale. Much of this is due to San Diego’s impeccable local workforce, skilled in bioinformatics, data science, computational biology, and other life sciences fields.  

To stay on this trajectory, San Diego companies conduct an ongoing search for the best and brightest, skilled in translating data into actionable results for healthcare and medicine. During this year’s San Diego Life Sciences Trek program in August, some of the biggest players in our life sciences industry are once again opening their doors to PhD students with the expertise and mission-driven attitude to get the job done. Through company tours, presentations, and a networking reception, students will gain access to influential researchers and executives across many of San Diego's fast-growing companies including Thermo Fisher, ResMed, Dexcom, Human Longevity, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and JLABS. The program is open to PhD candidates interested in exploring careers in bioinformatics, data science, computational biology, genomics, and more. From drug discovery to connected devices, genetic sequencing to direct patient care, it’s clear that San Diego’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem provides an abundant breadth of opportunities.

Over two sunny days in November 2017, 30 Masters and PhD candidates toured San Diego for the Life Sciences Trek in its pilot year. This group represented 10 schools from across the country, all working towards advanced degrees in bioinformatics, bioengineering, genetics, molecular biology or similar disciplines. One participant has already made the move to San Diego after accepting a bioinformatics software engineer position at Illumina, one of the participating companies last year. Other participants from the 2017 Life Sciences Trek reflected on their experience as well:

“This is a fantastic opportunity and unique experience to get an inside look into companies and a career in Life sciences and specifically Bioinformatics. It was perfect timing for me in my last year of a Ph.D. program.”

“[The Life Sciences Trek] gives you an inside look at companies in the area beyond just reading their website. I now have firsthand connections to recruiters and other biotech professionals in the area that I will maintain over the coming years.”

“San Diego is at the top of my list for post-graduation job hunting, primarily because of my experience at the EDC Life Sciences Trek.”

Registration is now open for the 2018 San Diego Life Sciences Trek -- don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to explore one of the top life sciences markets in the country. Join us in San Diego August 16-17 to see the life-changing work happening here for yourself. And who knows, you might just find your dream job.

To learn more or register, visit the official Eventbrite page or contact Kate Gallagher – ksg@sandiegobusiness.org.

 

 

 

October 20, 2017

Strengthening ties between San Diego and the U.K., Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and World Trade Center San Diego led a delegation to London and Cambridge, United Kingdom from October 16 – 19. Check out #SDinUK for the inside scoop.

Rep. Peters and World Trade Center San Diego were joined by more than two dozen San Diego delegates from Cubic Transportation Systems, Qualcomm, San Diego Gas & Electric, Edico Genome, Takeda California, NuVasive, Forge Therapeutics, BioMed Realty, Alexandria Real Estate, Biocom, UC San Diego, San Diego State University and others. 

Over the course of the three-day trade mission, two significant announcements, representing both the smart cities and life sciences space, were made.

San Diego became the first west coast city to enter London’s Business Welcome Programme. As part of the agreement inked between World Trade Center San Diego and London & Partners, London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s official economic development and tourism agency, London-based companies will have access to up to three months of free space at WeWork San Diego, as well as a suite of other services designed to accelerate their ability to grow in San Diego.

Continually, San Diego-based Forge Therapeutics announced the launch of BLACKSMITH, a new platform being developed in partnership with Evotec AG’s U.K. team. With more than 23,000 people dying in the U.S. annually due to resistance to anti-biotic superbugs, Forge’s new platform will aid in bringing lifesaving drugs to the market. The partnership will also enable Forge to create additional jobs in San Diego.

Additionally, Rep. Scott Peters and the delegation met with and spotlighted the following companies and held additional meetings and panels to expand on the following topics:

  • San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) and its partnership with Transport for London (TfL). During this event, leaders heard from CTS’ president Matt Cole and TfL’s CTO Shashi Verma on how the collaboration moves millions of people across London daily.
  • An MOU signing between Biocom and OneNucleus, both trade organizations that represent the life sciences sector in their respective locations, to strengthen partnerships.
  • A conversation about leveraging electric vehicle technology as a key platform for smart cities in the U.K. with Qualcomm and SDG&E. During the panel, it was announced that Chargemaster, a licensee of Qualcomm’s wireless electric vehicle charging technology, has just opened the world’s first EV Experience Centre in Milton Keynes in the U.K. and is looking to expand elsewhere around the world.
  • A partnership agreement in Cambridge for a ground-up development project by San Diego-based BioMed Realty, comprising 100,000 square feet of laboratory and office space for growing life sciences companies. The partnership launch was attended by newly-elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer.
  • A tour and best practices exchange with Knowledge Quarter, a one mile area of London comprised of eight higher education institutions, 22 museums and galleries, 34 libraries and archives, 580 research centers, 3,000 scientists, 13,700 academics, 57,000 staff and 98,500 students. Knowledge Quarter is home to companies including The British Library, Google, The Guardian, University of London and others.
  • San Diego-based Edico Genome and a partnership with U.K.-based Congenica. Simultaneously, Edico Genome, in partnership with Amazon Web Services and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD title for “Fastest time to analyze 1,000 human genomes.” The award was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando.

The U.K. is one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. U.K.-based companies directly support more than 10,000 local jobs and have poured more than $3.9 billion in greenfield investment (2003-2015) into San Diego’s economy. The U.K. is also one of the top 10 largest export markets for San Diego-produced goods and services.

The trade mission was organized by WTC San Diego, with assistance and support provided by the U.K. Department of International Trade.

January 24, 2017

A 295,000 square foot addition to your home may not be on most people’s minds, but for a company with Illumina’s ambition, its par for the course. And today was yet another one of those days at one of San Diego’s largest life sciences companies. It also marked the culmination of a dynamic collaborative partnership to get things done.

Cutting the ribbon on the new addition to its corporate headquarters, Illumina President and CEO Francis deSouza, Executive Chairman Jay Flatley and other Illumina executives shared the stage with San Diego Mayor Faulconer to announce the opening of what is now among San Diego’s top five largest manufacturing centers. And yes, manufacturing in San Diego does include this genomics giant.  

The state of the art facility will house 850 new R&D, oncology, reproductive and genetic health and manufacturing jobs. It will continue to fuel Illumina’s majority share of the world’s genetic sequencing market, producing both the sequencing machines and analytics its customers need to support innovative global healthcare applications.

EDC is proud to have been able to contribute toward making the new building a reality. Countless phone calls, meetings and exchanges alongside our partners at Alexandria Real Estate, Biocom, Cushman & Wakefield and the city of San Diego brokered the arrangement. After four years of collaborative work, led by California Assemblymember Todd Gloria and San Diego Mayor Faulconer, the art of the possible (that new home addition) is today a shiny, ambitious new reality for San Diego.

Next up for the company and San Diego – Another 316,000 square foot addition due to open this July. 

 

November 7, 2014

Mayor Faulconer and TSRI Acting President & CEO James Paulson

With more than 80 research institutes throughout the region, San Diego is a breeding ground for innovative companies and institutes that solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.  Perhaps no local institution has captured the region’s innovative spirit more than The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

 They are on the forefront of controlling a global epidemic. Currently, TSRI Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire is advancing new Ebola therapies and has already contributed to the development of ZMapp, the Ebola therapy from San Diego-based Mapp Pharmaceuticals, given to the first two U.S. missionaries who survived infection.  Dr. Saphire has launched a crowdfunding campaign to find new therapies for the viral disease. TSRI Professor Dennis Burton and his colleagues are also taking a global leadership role in the development of a vaccine to combat HIV/AIDS, focusing on understanding rare antibodies that are effective in neutralizing the virus.

As part of his commitment to raising global awareness of the region’s innovation economy, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has partnered with EDC to tour some of San Diego’s most cutting-edge businesses and institutes, including TSRI last Friday.  The Mayor also visited General Dynamics NASSCO and SPAWAR earlier this year.

As of Tuesday, Dr. Saphire’s crowdfunding campaign has exceeded its $100,000 goal, meaning more innovation will take place right here, in San Diego.  


Subscribe to our blog

 

June 25, 2014

Pharma Icon Medical Device Icon Genomics Icon Biofuels Icon Craftbeer icon

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.