Skip to Content

Life Sciences

“San Diego is home to more BD associates than any other city in the world. The region not only offers a great place for associates to live, but it is also home to world-class health care facilities, great universities and many innovative companies that create a highly educated talent pool and opportunities for unique collaborations.”

Bill Kozy, Executive VP & COO, BD
Feb. 1, 2016

The life sciences cluster is a major driver of San Diego’s innovation economy. The region is home to more than 1,225 life sciences companies and more than 80 independent and university-affiliated research institutes.1
These research institutes, which include The Scripps Research Institute and the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, provide the region’s life sciences cluster with life-changing technologies that fuel company growth and product development. Major pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Takeda maintain a presence in San Diego to foster collaboration with major research institutes, universities, and small biotechnology companies. These unique assets, combined with one of the most talented workforces in the world, make San Diego one of the top life sciences markets in the world.
Check out EDC's study, “San Diego's Precision Health Ecosystem,” which explores the impact of the region’s precision health cluster and quantifies the number of firms, venture capital and patents, as well the broader cluster across California.

Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • Economic impact: Life sciences activity accounts for $33.6 billion in total economic impact in San Diego.1
  • Lab space: San Diego boasts nearly 17 million square feet of lab space, concentrated mid-county around the Torrey Pines, University Town Center, and Sorrento Mesa neighborhoods.2
  • Increased demand: The San Diego market continues to see demand for life sciences facilities, with more than 2.4 million square feet added since the beginning of 2016 and 500,000 square feet under constructions.2
  • Jobs: Life sciences employees on average earn more than $117,000 annually, more than any other traded cluster in San Diego County.1  
  • Research funds: NIH funding in life sciences in San Diego County totaled more than $830 million in 2016.1
  • STEM graduates: San Diego County higher education institutions produce more than 7,000 STEM graduates annually, fueling the growth of the industry.2

Key Companies 



Biocom is the largest regional life sciences association in the world and represents more than 825 member companies. 

Biocom Institute
The Biocom Institute serves as a bridge between learning institutions and life science companies to build comprehensive education initiatives that advance scientific literacy.
California Life Sciences Association

CLSA is California's premier life sciences public policy advocacy and business leadership organization. With fully staffed offices in San Diego and across the country, CLSA works closely with industry, government, academia and others to shape public policy, improve access to innovative technologies and grow California’s life sciences economy.

California Life Sciences Institute

CLSI provides access to California’s innovation pipeline through a broad range of entrepreneurial, career and educational programs. CLSI’s FAST advisory program accelerates the commercialization of California’s most compelling startups. CLSI is also a CARB-X partner and accelerator to companies advancing products designed to combat antimicrobial resistance around the globe.


CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 2,000 companies since 1985 and is widely regarded as the world’s most successful regional program linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for commercialization of products.

San Diego Biotechnology Network

San Diego Biotechnology Network was founded in 2008 with the goal of providing high quality, face to face networking among professionals working directly in the biotech space. 

San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange

SDEE supports new companies in the life sciences and technology fields, and sponsors networking and educational events. 

Wireless Life Sciences Alliance

WLSA is a global trade organization that brings CEOs from the world’s most innovative wireless health companies together with business leaders and researchers in healthcare and technology, to accelerate business opportunities and improve healthcare.


1. Biocom Economic Impact Report, 2017 2. JLL, Life Sciences Outlook, 2017