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Science & Technology

Algae Blooms In San Diego's Biotech Industry

An algae sample from the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology.
SDCAB
An algae sample from the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology.

According to a new San Diego Association of Governments study, the local algae biotech economy has doubled since 2011.

Algae accounts for $80 million in payroll and more than $175 million in total economic output, according to a report commissioned by Clean Tech San Diego.

Algae initially took root in biotech as an alternative fuel source. But Clean Tech San Diego President Jason Anderson says companies like Sapphire Energy, Synthetic Genomics, and Cellana have found new ways to profit from algae beyond fuel.

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"Local companies continue to focus on fuel, but it doesn't remain their primary focus," says Anderson. "We're seeing companies diversify their portfolio: omega-3 drinks and pills and other products that yield more of a return right now."

The report claims more than 500 San Diegans work in algae biotechnology, including academics and private sector employees.

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