Biocom’s GrowLABio Initiative to Expand Bioscience Industry in Los Angeles Region

Monthly Newsletter

Biocom’s GrowLABio Initiative to Expand Bioscience Industry in Los Angeles Region

November 2021

Biocom Los Angeles recently hosted its inaugural GrowLABio meeting with a focus on the capacity of economic and public finance tools to aid in the expansion of the bioscience industry in Los Angeles County and greater local region.

According to Biocom’s 2021 Economic Impact Report, LA County’s bioscience industry is home to approximately 3,876 life science establishments; employs 96,484 people; generates $60.8 billion in county economic output; increases labor income by $19 billion; and received $1.9 billion in NIH research awards in 2020. While this biosciences cluster is flourishing in many areas, there are significant challenges to continued and sustained growth of the industry in the region.

Based upon recent economic impact data and anecdotal information from biotech stakeholders, it is clear that the biggest challenges to growth of the industry are lack of infrastructure, affordable housing and transportation to serve a very diverse workforce. One of the most pressing issues is the lack of wet lab and shared lab space availability. While there has been incredible growth of the bioscience industry in Los Angeles County over the past several years, there is currently only a 1.5 percent vacancy rate in the region and a 3 percent vacancy rate nationwide.

To address these challenges, Biocom California launched and is leading the GrowLABio initiative with community partners — to convene the necessary stakeholders and facilitate the right conversations to address the immediate impediments to the industry’s growth in the region. With the lack of space and appropriate infrastructure for the industry to grow, GrowLABio’s priorities are to:

  • Develop an inventory or database of assets – real, proposed, and potential – to connect the area as a multi-county life sciences “mega-region.” (including Ventura and Orange Counties)
  • Create a market ‘gap’ and needs analysis; and
  • Build a cohesive regional strategy to develop of new bioscience campuses including creation of a comprehensive playbook for campus development, which outlines appropriate zoning, entitlements, utility needs, special space requirements.

Key takeaways from the first GrowLABio task force meeting include:

  • The time is now: the greater LA region is the next logical life science/bioscience hub given their space, talent, investment and government willingness to support their local ecosystem;
  • There are new public and private funding sources that could be available and new legislation may help tailor other funding sources to assist the growth of the life science industry;
  • The biggest and most immediate constraint to growing the bioscience industry is finding appropriate space to create labs and life sciences campuses. Additional wet lab and shared lab space is needed to foster the growth and to unleash the wealth of innovation that already exists here; and
  • There is a unique opportunity to reimagine what a bioscience hub can and should look like. By working together to understand what resources (land, government support/incentives, talent) exist and how to apply the best practices from other established hubs, as well as learning from those hubs, LA biosciences can work towards creating new campuses that link to affordable housing, transportation, and other key infrastructure/ecosystem needs to accommodate for continued future growth at the rates we’re currently experiencing.

GrowLABio will help create more lab space and life sciences jobs – to accelerate the pathway from NIH grant to research lab to incubator to life sciences campus to patient. For more information about GrowLABio or to participate, contact Biocom Los Angeles at: (213) 943-2920.

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For more information, contact Patty Cooper with the California Biotechnology Foundation at 916-764-2434 or [email protected].