Friday, December 11, 2009

Inside Biotech in San Diego: A Multibillion Dollar Matter

If you want to understand a little more about the biotech biz in San Diego, the Voice of San Diego Web site has a couple of pieces that deal with the industry that employs 40,000 people in that balmy corner of California.

Both are by David Washburn, who wrote last month about the impact in San Diego of the Pfizer cutbacks. He said:
“Pfizer's research facility in La Jolla...was not only spared in the downsizing, but is now one of five main R&D centers in the newly restructured operation. That's good news for the roughly 1,000 employees at the La Jolla facility, and perhaps for other San Diego scientists who could get hired by Pfizer as it moves more of its work here.

“And, on another level, the new Pfizer — as well as other Big Pharma restructurings — might be good news for the all the little fish that make up the San Diego biotech industry.”
In October, he explored reasons for the tiny voice that the tech and biotech industry has in local government, a phenomenon not unique to San Diego. Washburn said,
"San Diego is home to hundreds of high-technology and biotechnology companies that collectively employ close to 150,000 people, and have an overall economic impact on the region of more than $10 billion.

“Despite these big numbers the tech industry does very little to push the agenda at San Diego City Hall. In fact, among the hundreds of lobbyists registered with the city, only about a half-dozen organizations represent the tech and biotech industry. Scores of lobbyists, on the other hand, represent the tourism and building industries.

“Consider that San Diego Bike & Kayak is represented by a lobbyist, but Connect, the tech industry's most high-profile industry organization, is not.

"'That is telling,' said Duane Roth, the CEO of Connect(and co vice chairman of the California stem cell agency). 'It shows how little cause we've had to be down there.'

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