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larta Assesses Southern California Bioscience Industry

August 03, 2001

Despite many indications that show strong potential for growth, Southern California's bioscience industry still faces challenges, according to a new report from the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance (larta). Released July 19, Heart of Gold: The Bioscience Industry in Southern California highlights the strengths of the region's industry and honestly assesses the ways that the industry can overcome its weaknesses. The report was created to present a full 

and objective overview of the industry through analysis of data from numerous sources, interviews with leaders of the biosciences industry, and insights from bioscience publications.

In its research, larta found the region has a vast amount of resources available to develop the industry but that these assets have yet to “pull together cohesively to create a leading center or bioscience development.”

Some Digest readers may be surprised to learn the report also found the area suffers from the same brain drain of research talent bemoaned by other areas of the country. In addition, Heart of Gold reports that compared to other well-known tech centers, biotech companies in the Los Angeles region often did not meet metrics used by venture capitalists for making investments.

While the San Francisco Bay area and San Diego are the main centers for comparison among some measures, larta also considered the metro areas of Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

larta concludes the main challenge for the region is to “wake the sleeping giant of Southern California bioscience without, at the same time, creating unsupportable hype that is unsustainable for the long run.” Specific measures recommended include: furthering the development of bioscience parks and other industry clusters; expanding awareness efforts such as networking forums, informational conferences, and investment showcases; matching skilled workers to bioscience job opportunities to stem the brain drain; and foster a community of service professionals to assist the industry.

The executive summary of Heart of Gold: The Bioscience Industry in Southern California is available online. The full report can be purchased directly from larta. More information is available at http://www.larta.org/