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Life Sciences

“What’s working in America are these cooperative clusters. San Diego has become the human genome research capital in America. Now not every city can do that. But check out what they’ve done…”

Former President Bill Clinton
CNBC's “Closing Bell” program
June 5, 2012

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 institutes, 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 the largest regional life sciences association in the world, and represents more than 550 member companies in Southern California.

BIOCOM Institute

The BIOCOM Institute serves as a bridge between learning institutions and life science companies to build comprehensive education initiatives that advance scientific literacy.


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.

Wireless Life Sciences Alliance

San Diego-based WLSA is a global trade organization that brings CEOs from the world’s most innovative wireless health companies together with business leaders and researchers in healthcare and technology, to accelerate business opportunities and improve healthcare.


  • 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