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“We are the center for groundbreaking discoveries in genomics that are saving lives and creating jobs along the way. Our innovation economy is driven by robust federal research funding through the National Institutes of Health. The discoveries of tomorrow and economic opportunities for the next generation depend on preserving this funding to keep San Diego at the forefront of innovation and discovery.”

Rep. Scott Peters, 52nd district of California
June 19, 2017

San Diego is widely considered to be a global leader in the genomics field. Genomics experts work to determine complete DNA sequences and perform genetic mapping to help understand disease. Technologies in the industry include DNA sequencing, informatics and genome analysis. 
Historically speaking, one could say that genomics found its genesis in San Diego. San Diegan J. Craig Venter was the first to map the entire human genome in 2000 as part of a broad international science initiative. Venter’s multiple companies in the space, alongside the launch of sequencing company Illumina in 1998, set the stage for San Diego to become a trailblazer in the field. Dozens of companies, alongside a robust mix of public and private institutions such as the Salk Institute and The Scripps Research Institute now make up the local genomics ecosystem. With an influx of conferences such as the Festival of Genomics California moving events to San Diego and Illumina being ranked as the “World’s Smartest Company” in 2014, the region is well poised to continue to lead in this game-changing industry.1
Check out EDC's recently released study, Cracking the Code: the Economic Impact of San Diego's Genomics Industry, and a timeline on the history of genomics.

Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • Sequencing on a budget: Gene sequencing leader Illumina effectively reduced the cost of individual gene sequencing from $100 million to $1,000 over the course of a single decade. During the 2017 J.P. Morgan annual healthcare conference, the company projected a cost of as little as $100.1
  • Research: In 2016, The Scripps Research Institute awarded a $120 million grant for a genomics-related study involving one million or more patients – the largest study of its kind to date.2
  • Cheers to genomes: San Diego doesn’t just specialize in the human genome. Liquid yeast manufacturer White Labs recently partnered with Illumina and Synthetic Genomics to sequence and assemble the full genome of 96 of the beverage producer’s yeast strains.3

Key Companies 

  • Agena Bioscience
  • Edico Genome
  • Helix
  • Human Longevity Inc.
  • Illumina
  • Pathway Genomics
  • Sequenom
  • Synthetic Genomics



Sources: Highlights: 1. Illumina Press Release, 2017, “Illumina Introduces the NovaSeq Series - a New Architecture Designed to Usher in the $100 Genome” 2. KPBS, 2016, “Scripps Institute Wins $120 Million Grant From NIH” 3. The Full Pint, 2016