Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


BIOCOM

June 26, 2017
The 2017 BIO International Convention, the world’s leading biotechnology conference, came to San Diego in June and brought with it more than 16,100 attendees from 74 countries. While here, many of these delegations – comprised of venture capitalists, foreign dignitaries, private companies and others – send hundreds of meeting and/or tour requests to local businesses and organizations.
 
WTC San Diego, in partnership with Biocom, launched discoversdbio.com in order to streamline such requests. In this pilot year, the website handled requests from 32 delegations, representing 388 people. More than 75 percent of these delegations consisted of companies seeking partnership opportunities with locals such as JLABS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Renova Therapeutics and more. 
 
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an integral part of San Diego’s life sciences cluster. In Q1 2017 alone, San Diego’s life sciences cluster received more than $1.7 billion in FDI – more than 75 percent of the region’s total FDI during that quarter. Strategically implementing tools such as this website helps local companies vet future opportunities. 
 
Moving forward, partner organizations can leverage the website to connect visiting delegations with local businesses and institutions.
May 1, 2015


In an effort to further the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diego business leaders will be heading to London next week to increase existing synergies between one of San Diego’s most important international partners.  Building on existing relationships, the delegation will host the London premiere of National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego” documentary, meet with key companies with San Diego ties, and promote opportunities in industries that matter most to San Diego’s competitiveness such as life sciences and connected health.

The San Diego – London ties run deep. Findings from the Go Global San Diego Initiative, released in March 2015, confirmed just how intertwined the two regions' economies are.  Collectively, the U.K. accounts form 25 percent of all foreign employment, or 12,340 jobs in San Diego. Some of these major London-based companies with San Diego ties include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum. San Diego is also home to Cubic, a transportation innovator that powers London’s OysterCard system.

Key agenda highlights from the mission include a UC Alumni Event Showcase, where UC San Diego Dean Al Pisano will lead a discussion with UC alumni working and living in London to activate stronger ties in the life sciences, telecommunications, cybersecurity and software engineering sectors. The delegation will participate on a joint panel about driving down the cost of healthcare (arranged by Biocom and its UK counterpart, OneNucleus) and visit “The Catapult,” London’s urban innovation lab that aims to strengthen quality of life, economies and the environment in cities around the globe. While overseas, the delegation will also meet with key partners and companies including the U.S. Embassy in London, British Airways, BAE and Ebsta.

The trip builds off exciting exchanges between the two regions. London is the first international city to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which works to help leaders reorient their economies towards greater engagement in world markets. San Diego has been a member of the GCI since Fall 2012. This affiliation has incubated a strong relationship with London + Partners, the economic development arm of the city of London. In February, Mayor Faulconer joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Brookings Institution  in D.C. to discuss how these two regions can strengthen their global connections.

The delegation includes:

  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
  • Andrew Lee, President & CEO, ESET
  • Diane Law, Parachute Marketing
  • George Guerra, Vice President, HALE Enterprise Strategic Ventures, Northrop Grumman
  • Hampton Brown, Director, Air Service Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Iris Magid, Director of Industry Engagement and University Relations, UC San Diego
  • Jennifer Landress, Senior Vice President & COO, Biocom
  • Joe Terzi, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Joe Timko, Director of Public Relations, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Julian Parra, Senior Vice President & Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Kerri Kapich, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Neva Parker, Head of Laboratory Operations, WhiteLabs
  • Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower San Diego & Chair, San Diego Convention Center
  • Robert Brownlie, Managing Partner, DLA Piper & Vice President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors
  • Robert Gleason, Chairman of the Board, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • The Honorable Scott Peters, Congressman (CA 52)
  • Sean Barr, Vice President, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Shelley Lyford, COO, West Health Institute & President, Gary & Mary West Foundation
  • Thella Bowens, President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Vince Mudd, Chair, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development, UC San Diego

If you’re a company that wants to increase its engagement with foreign markets – such as London – apply for the MetroConnect prize. Thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase, EDC is providing select San Diego-based companies with up to $10,000 in matching funds to help with each company’s next steps in going global. The deadline is Monday at noon.  

Follow the conversation at

June 25, 2014

Pharma Icon Medical Device Icon Genomics Icon Biofuels Icon Craftbeer icon

Timing is everything. With BIO 2014 in full swing, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has released its list of the top U.S. life sciences clusters. No stranger to life sciences stardom, San Diego comes in third on the list. From algae biofuels to genomics, medical devices, and even beer, San Diego has seen a strong surge of cross-convergence throughout the biotech sector.

San Diego’s innovation economy is anchored by our strong biotech cluster. Not only are we home to what MIT researchers have dubbed ‘The World’s Smartest Company’ – Illumina – but the region’s leadership in stem cell research and the mapping of the human genome is second to none,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC.

A combination of top-tier universities, a strong talent pool, and innovative companies have made San Diego a bio hub. Additionally, BIOCOM has worked to accelerate San Diego’s dynamic life sciences community.

This year’s rankings were based on life sciences employment concentration, employment growth, establishment concentration, venture capital funding and patents as well as NIH funding. If you are up on your rankings, you may realize that San Diego has dropped a spot since JLL 2013 rankings. In terms of job creation, San Diego is number one for life sciences employment concentration and number two for life sciences employment growth.

Adding employment growth and patent applications to the Global Life Sciences Cluster Report scorecard this year, two areas where the San Francisco Bay Area particularly excels, meant that San Diego dropped a spot from last year’s report,” said Brian Cooper, senior vice president at JLL. “However, as former president Bill Clinton declared on national television, San Diego has become the ‘human genome research capital in America,’ which bolsters our city’s strength in developing and supporting a collaborative cluster so attractive to emerging life science companies.”

One area where San Diego’s ranking has dropped is venture capital:  “Although we saw a dip in venture capital, this can be partially explained by the rise in local biotech companies going public. Last year was one of the strongest years for biotech IPOs in the past decade, which means in many cases companies did not need to raise late-stage money,” said Cafferty.

Eight San Diego companies went public in 2013 including Fate Therapeutics and Tandem Diabetes.          

June 14, 2013
By Jennifer Storm
 
Breweries and biotech companies abound. Strong public/private collaboration. A modernized downtown. A breathtaking waterfront. Until I came back from Yokohoma, Japan last week, I thought San Diego was the only place where this existed.
 
I was representing EDC as part of the World Trade Center San Diego’s trade mission to Japan, along with BIOCOM and San Diego Regional Airport Authority, to learn about further strengthening ties between the two regions. Last week, I boarded a plane at Lindbergh Field. Nearly 12 hours later, on one of the most immaculate airplanes I have ever seen, I stepped foot in Narita Airport in Tokyo thanks to Japan Airlines' direct service. A few days and a bus ride later I found myself on the way to Yokohoma, Japan – San Diego’s sister city. 
 
From an economic standpoint, it’s an optimal time to launch flight service between San Diego and Japan. Much like the U.S., Japan is climbing out of recession. As such, they’ve adopted liberal spending policies – known as Abe-nomics –to spur investment and growth, so there is a strong potential for increased foreign direct investment .  
 
YokohamaWhile in Yokohoma, Japanese business leaders exhibited their strong interest in partnering with San Diego companies. We were met with a delegation of 40 business leaders who had ties to San Diego or were interested in creating them. The strong link between Yokohama and San Diego was very apparent- I even met the sole distributor of Stone Beer in Japan! 
 
Traveling to Japan also helped me put things in perspective back home. It’s amazing how two distinct countries could have so much in common, yet also have the opportunity to learn so much from one another. The infrastructure in Japan is outstanding. You can move from one place to another with absolute ease.  This is something we’re working on in San Diego, but admittedly, we’re just not there yet.
 
On the other hand, while touring a biotech company, I had the opportunity to chat with one employee who had previously spent time at the Salk Institute. He noted that although he prefers Japan on a personal level, he misses the creative freedom of working in the U.S.  If he discovered something while in his lab at Salk, he had the freedom to explore that opportunity, in the hopes that it would lead to further research. Although it varies from company to company, he echoed that Japan has more of a regimented work environment. 
 
Although each city has excelled in similar industries, we have a lot of lessons to learn from each other. After all, isn’t that what siblings are for?
 
To learn more about San Diego’s most recent business delegation to Japan, you can read Joe Panetta’s guest column in the U-T.