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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Genomics

January 24, 2017

A 295,000 square foot addition to your home may not be on most people’s minds, but for a company with Illumina’s ambition, its par for the course. And today was yet another one of those days at one of San Diego’s largest life sciences companies. It also marked the culmination of a dynamic collaborative partnership to get things done.

Cutting the ribbon on the new addition to its corporate headquarters, Illumina President and CEO Francis deSouza, Executive Chairman Jay Flatley and other Illumina executives shared the stage with San Diego Mayor Faulconer to announce the opening of what is now among San Diego’s top five largest manufacturing centers. And yes, manufacturing in San Diego does include this genomics giant.  

The state of the art facility will house 850 new R&D, oncology, reproductive and genetic health and manufacturing jobs. It will continue to fuel Illumina’s majority share of the world’s genetic sequencing market, producing both the sequencing machines and analytics its customers need to support innovative global healthcare applications.

EDC is proud to have been able to contribute toward making the new building a reality. Countless phone calls, meetings and exchanges alongside our partners at Alexandria Real Estate, Biocom, Cushman & Wakefield and the city of San Diego brokered the arrangement. After four years of collaborative work, led by California Assemblymember Todd Gloria and San Diego Mayor Faulconer, the art of the possible (that new home addition) is today a shiny, ambitious new reality for San Diego.

Next up for the company and San Diego – Another 316,000 square foot addition due to open this July. 

 

April 24, 2015

While San Diego is known to the rest of the world as “America’s Finest City,” it also happens to be one of the world’s smartest cities.

At least that’s the way the National Geographic Channel sees it. San Diego is featured in Nat Geo’s “World’s Smart Cities” documentary, a one-hour documentary special uncovering what makes this unique city one of the most innovative, forward thinking cities across the globe. The documentary begins airing tomorrow on the Nat Geo Channel at 8 a.m.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s public premiere, we’ve pulled together 9 reasons Nat Geo calls us a Smart City.

Here it goes:

  1. We don’t just drink beer, we make it too.

    Home to nearly 100 craft breweries, San Diego is serious about suds. But it’s not just about drinking it; it’s also about brewing it. In the documentary, you’ll meet Neva Parker, director of laboratory operations at White Labs, who talks about cultivating brewer’s yeast, a key ingredient in the brewing process.
     
  1. Our grid is smart.

    Today, 32 percent of San Diego’s electricity is renewable, and there is no coal in SDG&E’s energy portfolio. Jim Avery of Sempra Energy discusses the Smart Grid which increases the use of renewable energy and helps manage the region’s power.
     
  1. Our port makes us a  “plug-in.”

    Speaking of clean energy, the Port has fully switched to a shore-power system that improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by allowing cargo vessels to "plug in" rather than run their diesel engines while in port.  You can catch some sweeping views of the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in the documentary.
     
  1. We cultivate the innovators of the future.

    Most San Diegans know the story of Qualcomm, the region’s largest private-sector employer, but what many people in San Diego (and across the world) don’t know is about their focus on cultivating future leaders. In the documentary, Host Andrew Evans visits Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, equal parts innovation lab and art studio, that provides students from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in San Diego with access to hands-on experiences in engineering. They are ensuring San Diego remains a “smart city” for generations to come.
     
  1. We’re home to one of the smartest universities in the world…and they just created the world’s first algae-based surfboard.

    UC San Diego campus is one of the top 15 research universities in the world and is an innovator nationally in solar and other renewable technologies. At the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, which host Andrew Evans visits, UC San Diego researcher Stephen Mayfield is turning pond scum into fuel for the next generation of transportation. He also turned this pond scum into the world’s first algae-based surfboard, which he showed off at the San Diego premiere Tuesday evening.
     
  1. Innovation is in our DNA.

    When it comes to the field of genomics, San Diego is second to none. Evans pays a visit to Illumina, the first company that cracked the $1,000 genome challenge, to get his DNA mapped by Chief Medical Officer Rick Klausner. Illumina was called the “World’s Smartest Company” ahead of Samsung, Google and Tesla by MIT Technology Review. It’s no coincidence the “World’s Smartest company” is headquartered in one of the “World’s Smart Cities.”
     
  1. We make the things that go where no man can go.

    From the frozen Arctic to the coast of Africa, the Northrop Grumman-built NASA Global Hawk has flown all over the globe conducting unprecedented scientific and environmental missions. Evans explores San Diego’s dynamic aerospace industry through the eyes of Northrop Grumman, where he has the opportunity to meet with George Guerra, an unmanned aircraft expert.
     
  1. Lifesaving innovations are applied to multiple fields.

    SeaWorld is more than just a theme park operator – they’re also an innovator. In the documentary, we meet Todd Schmitt, senior veterinarian at SeaWorld, who discusses SeaWorld’s Zoological Stem Cell Bank Initiative which contributes to the scientific advancement of stem cell use in marine species and has the potential to replace drugs in the treatment of many chronic diseases, especially in older animals.
     
  1. Our people care.

    San Diego resident Rob Machado is a surfing hall of famer and legend. Yet rather than focusing on his sport and why it’s important to the culture of San Diego, he chose to focus on the volunteer work that he and others are doing through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) to help children with disabilities learn to surf, develop confidence in themselves and connect with the ocean and nature.

It’s easy to see that San Diego is more than just the beach. Make sure not to miss out on the full picture, see why we’re one of the “World’s Smart Cities.” The program will air Saturday, April 25, 8-9 a.m., and Saturday, May 2, 8-9 a.m., on the National Geographic Channel.

December 1, 2014

DRAGEN Chip Large Ball Array

Every year, The Scientist, a world-renowned science and innovation publication, looks to highlight “research products introduced in the past year that are poised to revolutionize the life sciences industry.” Half of the “Top 10 Innovations of 2014” list is made up of San Diego companies.

This is no small victory. Companies as far away as Austria, with its HAP1 Cells developed by Haplogen Genomics GmbH, were ranked. In fact, no other city had more than one local company ranked.

The San Diego winners of The Scientist’s Top 10 innovations of 2014 are:

  • DRAGEN Bio-IT Processor (Edico Genome) – This bioinformatics processor reduces the computational cost and increases speed of analyzing genomic sequence data.
  • MiSeqDX (Illumina) – This benchtop sequencer is the first next-generation sequencing tool approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in clinical diagnostics.
  • HiSeq X 10 (Illumina) – This platform enables whole-genome sequencing at population-level scales at the long-sought-for cost of $1,000 per human genome. 
  • IrysChipV2(BioNano Genomics, Inc.) – This tool provides a high-throughput platform for the visualization of large-scale genomic structure, with applications for mapping, assembly, and evolutionary analyses.
  • exVive3D Liver model (Organovo, Inc.) – This in vitro model mimics the macro and micro 3-D structure of the human liver, providing an experimental system that closely models in vivo human liver function.

With a strong concentration of research institutes, San Diego has made a name for itself as the genomics capital of the U.S. All of the San Diego-based innovations, with the exception of the exVive3D Liver model, are classified as genomics innovations.

Growing this base of innovative companies is a key focus of EDC’s work. In July, Illumina announced its plans to expand in San Diego, thanks to a 1.5 million tax rebate from the City of San Diego, which will retain and create 300 well-paying jobs locally. Because of this deal, Illumina will continue to develop its local footprint, and attract top scientists to the region.

As San Diego becomes ubiquitous for life sciences innovation, this ranking reiterates that products and innovations developed here have the power to change the world.

April 21, 2014

When MIT set out to the name the world’s smartest company in February, they didn’t look to count the number of patents or PHds or even stock gains; instead, they asked themselves whether a company had made strides which have helped redefine its field. The answer was not a company located in Silicon Valley or Seoul or London. The answer was – and still is – right here in San Diego. That company is Illumina.

Founded in 1998, Illumina has not only helped build the genomics field, but also has redefined it. In a time when medicine and medical research are becoming increasingly expensive, Illumina has made personalized medicine more attainable. They have made it feasible to sequence genomes for under $1,000 a patient.

Last week, more than 15 EDC stakeholders got to experience this innovation first hand when they toured Illumina’s UTC headquarters. With its wide array of platforms, Illumina is sought out by researchers and healthcare professionals as well as ancestry companies, such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me to provide valuable genetic information. Each day, Illumina and its 3,000 global employees- 1,500 in San Diego - work to improve lives around the world by unlocking the power of the genome.

On the tour of Illumina’s campus, guides walked participants through R&D space, on-site manufacturing facilities and a suite of amenities available to Illumina’s employees, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, coffee shops, an amphitheater and the cafeteria, which employees admit is the most effective and efficient meeting space on campus. Collaboration is at Illumina’s core and all of these spaces provide opportunities for employees to exchange information and generate new ideas, developing the next ideas that will fuel Illumina’s growth as a global brand.

As MIT notes when talking about their rankings, “It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it.” Thanks in part to Illumina, San Diego is showing the rest of the world what smart really means.