Case Study #1: Biomedical Sector

14 Sep

Los Angeles’ biomedical sector ranks fourth nationally, behind Boston, New York, and the Bay Area. It would seem that the region could do better, given its assets.

L.A. boasts more than $2 billion in annual research funding thanks to Caltech, USC, and UCLA. Each of those institutions, in turn, has spawned viable biomedical startups, with USC alone raising more than $800 million in investment capital. The region also has an established network of wealthy investors, angel networks, and venture capital firms. The city’s large manufacturing base, local government’s support of advancing biomed in the region, and incubators like the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative are also big plusses.

In spite of this, an estimated 50 percent of biomed startups born in Los Angeles relocate. Richard Hull, an entrepreneur and investor who lived and worked in Los Angeles for 15 years, cites several local impediments. They include the lack of sufficient incubation and wet lab facilities, poor coordination of resources and investors, and a dearth of experienced business advisors stepping up to the plate. L.A.’s polycentric geography also hinders the growth of this sector.

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