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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.
By Shea Benton, economic development manager
Late January, EDC ventured into new territory by hosting ExploreSD, a three-day showcase of San Diego’s economy and talented workforce for site selection consultants from all over the country. Our goals were twofold: 1) pilot a replicable multi-day tour of the best companies our region has to offer to tell the San Diego story; and 2) proactively promote our region’s unique economy in an effort to generate new business attraction opportunities.
Over the past year, our team has engaged with a select group of consultants whose business is to compare and contrast regions for their clients, based on a gamut of criteria from real estate and utility costs to talent and quality of life, in order to help companies decide where to expand or relocate. As you can imagine, many in this industry have an aversion to California due to perceived and real barriers to doing business in the state. EDC’s strategy was to sell the San Diego region based on our thriving innovation economy, talented workforce, collaborative relationship with local and state government and unmatched quality of life.
Day 1: Joined by Mark Field, CTO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Melissa Floca, director of the Center for US-Mexican Studies at UCSD, and Erik Caldwell, director of economic development for the City of San Diego, we kicked off day 1 with an overview of our mega-region. The conversation turned quickly to cross-border manufacturing and our proximity to Mexico, an asset previously overlooked by this group. After a multi-hour discussion, the stage was set for the next two days of company tours.
Day 2: Starting with a visual overview of downtown from the top of Diamondview Tower, our morning featured tours of Red Door Interactive, ESET and EvoNexus incubator. This portion of the event showcased San Diego’s downtown, with visit to both tech startups and established companies. The afternoon included trips to three companies with some of the most unique stories in San Diego: Illumina, iBoss Cybersecurity and BD/Carefusion. Not only are these three of the most recognizable names in the region, but they also have something else in common: they all explored expanding or relocating to other regions, only to increase their presence in San Diego.
Day 3: We began our final day in North County with tours of General Atomics and D&K Engineering to help these individuals better asses our advanced manufacturing industry. After a quick lunch at Stone Brewing Bistro & Gardens - a necessary stop for anyone visiting the region that doubled as a highlight of our craft beer industry - we explored all 5 cities along the 78 corridor. With stops at CSU San Marcos, a drive through Ocean Ranch Business Park and Carlsbad giants ViaSat and Thermo Fisher Scientific, we finished out our tour strong.
One thing was clear throughout the tour – our region’s innovation economy, talented workforce, and quality of life permeated every discussion in an organic way. With the help of an articulate group of business leaders and San Diego’s leading industry and real estate experts, we effectively articulated the benefits of business location in our region over peer metros including Austin, Denver and San Francisco. Moving forward, we intend to replicate and use this style of tour as an effective method to tell the San Diego story.
This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.
There are 3.2 billion base pairs in your genome. Although all of this information is contained within a single cell, decoding it – and thus understanding many diseases and pathologies – is a challenge.
San Diego-based Cypher Genomics, winner of the MetroConnect Prize, may be changing that.
“We’re working to translate your genome into actionable information to impact human health,” said Adam Simpson, COO of Cypher Genomics at the MetroConnect launch on July 1.
Cypher is working to solve a large problem facing the genomics industry – genome interpretation. As one of the 15 winners of the MetroConnect Prize, Cypher will be taking its genome decoding technology to the rest of the globe.
SMEs represent the vast majority of businesses in the region and are responsible for much of the innovation and job creation activity that propels our economy. The success of these firms is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as Cypher Genomics received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.
Cypher plans to use the prize money to advance business development efforts around the globe including in the United Kingdom, Japan and China. Not only are these countries that can benefit from genomics technology, but they are also among San Diego’s top five trade partners. Simpson is currently en route to the U.K. to use some of the funds.
As Cypher has learned, they’re not promoting their own business, but also the San Diego region. San Diego is known across the globe as a major contender in the life sciences industry. Just last week, JLL found that San Diego had the fourth largest life sciences cluster in the nation. Although we may have just missed the top three, when it comes to genomics, San Diego is the gold standard.
Like many successful San Diego life sciences firms, Cypher traces its roots back to our research institutes on the Mesa. What started as an idea inside of the Scripps Research Institute has morphed into a 10 plus person company. Chaired by industry vet Hank Nordoff (Hank also chaired EDC’s board from 2004 -2006), Cypher is in good company with many other leading genomics companies including Illumina, Sequenom and others.
“We have incredible academic institutions. We have access to incredible talent, wonderful people, and great companies. San Diego really is THE city for genomics, ” said Simpson.
The MetroConnect Prize is made possible by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
You can read Cypher Genomics' blog post about the MetroConnect prize here.
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:
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.
Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…
Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.
Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall. Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future.
The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.
Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.
"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.
The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide. Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.
Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.
Follow the conversation at #Smartcities.
There’s no punchline here. In many other regions – that don’t count collaboration as a strength – this may be the beginning of a counterproductive encounter. In San Diego, this is how we find solutions. At the Strong Workforce Town Hall held at Illumina on Wednesday, business people, educators, economic and workforce development professionals, and politicians gathered to address how the region will close the impending skills gap.
California Community Colleges play a vital role in preparing workers for jobs and strengthening the economy. Wednesday’s conversation was part of a series of ‘town hall’ style meetings held throughout the state to help California’s dynamic community college system close the skills gap.
The facts are alarming: by 2020, there will be 6.3 million job openings in the state of California. If we want to remain a center for innovation, we must have the workforce to get us there.
So how do you prepare the 2.1 million students in California for tomorrow’s workforce?
Sunny Cooke, president of Mira Costa College and chair of the State’s Strong Workforce Task Force, said we must rethink the three fundamental ‘R’s:
San Diego’s – and California’s – leaders must work in earnest to find, develop, and enhance our workforce pipeline. As California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris says, “our global competitiveness depends on it.”
All pictures are courtesy of the San Diego Workforce Partnership
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:
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.
The ‘World’s Smartest Company’ just made one of the world’s smartest decisions. Today, genomics pioneer Illumina announced its plans to expand in San Diego. With the help of EDC, the City of San Diego has announced an agreement that will help keep the biotech company and hundreds of high-paying jobs in San Diego. The City will provide a tax rebate in exchange for the retention and creation of 300 well-paying jobs.
“This is a perfect example of how San Diego can support middle class jobs while also encouraging economic growth,” said Mayor Faulconer. “This agreement keeps hundreds of high wage jobs in San Diego, ensures city residents benefit from over a million dollars in annual sales tax revenue, and strengthens our region’s leadership in biotechnology.”
The announcement was made today at press conference at Illumina’s headquarters with CEO Jay Flatley, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner and EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. The City Council will now vote to ratify the agreement during the week of July 21.
Founded in 1998 with 15 employees, Illumina now has 3,000 employees – 1,500 which are in San Diego – with offices in virtually every continent. The innovator has also emerged as one of the most important companies in the global biotech field. Earlier this year, they became the first company to sequence the human genome for under $1,000 a person, making one of the most significant strides in personalized medicine in the past decade. That’s one of the reasons Illumina was recently named “World’s Smartest Company” by MIT Technology Review, ahead of Tesla Motors, Google and Samsung.
“We’re excited to continue to grow a state-of-the-art campus that will not only contribute to Illumina’s success, but also contribute to the growth of San Diego’s life sciences community, to the advancement of genetic research, and ultimately to help people around the globe realize the benefits of personalized medicine,” said Jay Flatley, Illumina’s CEO.
“The fact that the ‘World’s Smartest Company’ has decided to expand its footprint in San Diego speaks volumes to the quality of our biotech industry and innovation economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of EDC. “Not only do we have a Mayor that values economic development and job creation, but we also have a cutting-edge company showing how much they value San Diego’s dynamic workforce, manufacturing expertise and research capabilities.”
After an initial meeting with Illumina, Mark Cafferty called Mayor Faulconer to express his concerns about Illumina expanding outside the region. Within 24 hours, Mayor Faulconer had cleared his schedule to sit down with key Illumina stakeholders to discuss the innovator’s growth plans.
Like most of San Diego’s successes, collaboration helped us get to this point. Cushman & Wakefield’s Steve Rosetta and Former EDC Board Chair Stath Karras were able to spot a need to engage with Illumina early on in this process. BIOCOM, Go-BIZ and partners at the State of California were also involved in guiding Illumina’s decision. Another EDC Board Member David Hale, considered one of the godfathers of biotech in San Diego, had flagged Illumina as the “next big thing.” All bets are, David is right.
As San Diego works to tell its innovation story to the rest of the world, we can look to Illumina as a strong global company. They have chosen to stay in San Diego because of the collaboration between the City and other partners as well as the strong talent pool that exists here. They are in England. They are in Brazil. They are in the UK. They are in Japan. But at the end of the day, they are headquartered in San Diego. And that’s the story we need to continue to tell.
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.