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Life Sciences

“BD’s decision to invest their future in San Diego demonstrates the strength of our world-class innovation economy and organizations like EDC that support it. This move also means thousands of high-quality jobs for San Diego’s increasingly talented workforce."

Congressman Scott Peters 
February 1, 2016

The life sciences industry is a major driver of the innovation economy in the San Diego region. The region has more than 1,100 life sciences companies and more than 80 research institutes. The research institutes along with University of California San Diego, San Diego State University and other major universities in the region provide the sector with breakthrough technologies that fuel company growth and product development. Major pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck maintain a presence in San Diego to foster collaboration with major research institutions, universities and smaller biotech companies. These unique assets, combined with one of the most talented labor forces in the world, make San Diego one of the top life sciences markets in the world.


Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • Life sciences activity accounts for more than $31.8 billion in total economic impact in San Diego.
  • In 2014, more than 1,100 San Diego County companies employed more than 34,000 in direct life sciences employment - biomedical devices, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. That number increases to more than 51,000 employees if related industries like biofuels, alternative energy, education, and other related support jobs are included.
  • San Diego County higher education institutions produce more than 7,000 STEM graduates annually fueling the growth of the industry.
  • Life sciences employees on average earn more than $134,000 annually, more than any other traded cluster in San Diego County.
  • Venture capital investment in life sciences in San Diego County totaled more than $550 million in 2014. Biotechnology received more than any other industry in San Diego.



Biocom is one of the largest regional life sciences associations in the world, providing Southern California company members with strategic leadership in: advocacy, investment and partnering, collective purchasing, workforce development, STEM education, business development, veterans initiatives, and specialized events to accelerate global business opportunities for its 750 members.

Biocom Institute

The Biocom Institute promotes public health and wellness initiatives, and provides the community with targeted workforce development initiatives, national and regional talent reports, professional skills development programs, veteran mentorship and internship opportunities, and presents the annual week-long San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

California Life Sciences Association

CLSA is the nation’s largest statewide advocacy and business solutions group for the life sciences, serving more than 750 biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostics companies, research universities and institutes, investors and service providers.


CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 2,000 companies since 1985 and is widely regarded as the world’s most successful regional program linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for commercialization of products.


  • Collaborative Economics for the Environmental Defense Fund
  • California’s Solar Cities 2012
  • Biocom 2014 Southern California Economic Impact Report
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • EMSI
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • California Employment Development Department
  • US Census Bureau