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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.
With more than 80 research institutes throughout the region, San Diego is a breeding ground for innovative companies and institutes that solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Perhaps no local institution has captured the region’s innovative spirit more than The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).
They are on the forefront of controlling a global epidemic. Currently, TSRI Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire is advancing new Ebola therapies and has already contributed to the development of ZMapp, the Ebola therapy from San Diego-based Mapp Pharmaceuticals, given to the first two U.S. missionaries who survived infection. Dr. Saphire has launched a crowdfunding campaign to find new therapies for the viral disease. TSRI Professor Dennis Burton and his colleagues are also taking a global leadership role in the development of a vaccine to combat HIV/AIDS, focusing on understanding rare antibodies that are effective in neutralizing the virus.
As part of his commitment to raising global awareness of the region’s innovation economy, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has partnered with EDC to tour some of San Diego’s most cutting-edge businesses and institutes, including TSRI last Friday. The Mayor also visited General Dynamics NASSCO and SPAWAR earlier this year.
As of Tuesday, Dr. Saphire’s crowdfunding campaign has exceeded its $100,000 goal, meaning more innovation will take place right here, in San Diego.
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.