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Life Sciences Has Major Impact On California’s Economy

Aired 6/25/14 on KPBS News.

California is getting a huge economic bump from the state's life science industry. San Diego's biotechnology cluster plays a role in that success.

California's life science industry generated nearly $259 billion worth of economic activity last year, according to a report released today in San Diego.

Document

BIO 2014 California Economic Impact Report

BIO 2014 California Economic Impact Report

The study found the state's life-sciences companies are clustered around the San Francisco and San Diego areas, but there is also significant activity in Los Angeles, around Sacramento and even in the Central Valley.

Kish Rajan, California's director of Business and Economic Development, said life sciences outshines the state's other economic sectors.

"Manufacturing, broadly, agriculture, film and entertainment, travel and tourism, those are all big," Rajan said. "But $250 or $260 billion in economic output, is just about the biggest kind of output that we have in our state by sector."

San Diego's share of that was about $32 billion in economic output. The Southern California region accounted for 110,000 jobs, about a third of all the life-science jobs in California.

Joe Panetta, president of the local biotech trade group Biocom, said it is sometimes difficult to quantify life sciences because the sector is vibrant and growing.

Generally, the sector includes medical-device companies, biotechnology firms, drug makers, as well as wireless firms and biological computational companies.

"Things like information science are playing a much more important role. Because when we sequence in the future, hundreds and hundreds of genomes, we're going to need the ability to collect and store and slice and dice and analyze all those data," Panetta said.

California is also getting a boost from its educational sector. The report found a 17-percent jump in science, technology, engineering and math degrees awarded in California between 2010 and 2012.

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