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San Diego Biotech Job Boom Expected To Slow

San Diego Biotech Job Boom Expected To Slow

GUEST:

Brittany Meiling, reporter, San Diego Business Journal

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2017 Biocom California Economic Data Impact Report

2017 Biocom California Economic Data Impact Report

A report on California's biotech industry.

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San Diego is one of the top regions in the country for biotechnology companies, which create $34 billion in local economic impact. But a report this week from California's biotech trade group shows the industry's strong job growth in recent years is starting to slow significantly.

While biotech jobs grew 19.6 percent between 2011 and 2016, San Diego-based Biocom expects that to increase only another 2.7 percent by 2021. That is lower than Biocom's estimate of about 4 percent employment growth for San Diego overall by 2021.

San Diego Business Journal reporter Brittany Meiling, who covers the biotech industry, said that while other regions are also expected to see a slowdown in biotech hiring, San Diego could be disproportionately affected.

The industry is increasingly relying on so-called virtual biotech firms, small companies with promising ideas which contract out much of their research work to other firms sometimes outside of the San Diego region. Early-stage companies, the ones San Diego is known for fostering, are the most likely to rely on that kind of contract work. And when they do find a winning product or discovery, according to Meiling, there's a good chance they get acquired by a larger company instead of growing locally.

"In our economy, most of the companies are spun-out of academic institutions. They’re small and they’re virtual companies," Meiling said. "They can be two to three people."

Meiling joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on what's happening to San Diego's biotech sector.

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