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Defining the Biomedical Industry

The biomedical industry, at heart, is dedicated to applying scientific advances to improve human health. Throughout California, this quest includes thousands of organizations, from small medical device startups to global biotechnology firms; from private research institutes to great universities. Their shared aspiration is to improve our understanding of disease in order to invent new technologies that can diagnose, treat and cure the disorders that, ultimately, affect everyone.

California leads the nation in life sciences investing, medical technology development and research innovation. The reason for this is multi-factorial.

Regulus Therapeutics“We believe that California attracts key scientific leadership and provides a welcoming environment to start new, innovative life science-focused businesses.”

Kleanthis Xanthopoulos, Ph.D., President and CEO, Regulus Therapeutics

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Public and private research institutions secure essential funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources to pursue scientific discoveries and knowledge.

Organovo“NIH funding provides critically needed seed funds to develop technologies that are used to start companies. Organovo was founded by out-licensing two patents that resulted from U.S. federal grants to academia, and without the critical grant funding, our technology may not have come to exist.”

Keith Murphy, CEO, Organovo

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The start-ups that have formed around these institutions to translate discoveries into medical products have created leading biotech clusters.

Avalon Ventures“California is uniquely situated because of the tradition of great research and natural big city clusters (San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles) that provide a great foundation for biotech.”

Kevin Kinsella, Managing Director, Avalon Ventures

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Government funding is amplified by private funding, including capital from angels, venture capitalists and foundations, and the public markets. These investments need to be protected and nurtured for a strong life sciences industry.

Third Rock Ventures“Venture capital funding is more important here in California than in many other areas of the country because of the tremendous skill set in the region. The major universities and medical schools in the state are known for their breakthrough science. It’s particularly important to unlock the potential clinical impact that this breakthrough science can provide. Furthermore, this area has a track record for building groundbreaking companies that have created tremendous value.”

Mark Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., Venture Partner, Third Rock Ventures

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Developing New ProductsBiotech, medical device and pharma companies lead the translation of breakthrough science into new medical products and treatments that improve health care of patients across the world.

Edwards Lifesciences“Countless groundbreaking innovations that have served clinicians and patients worldwide were born in California. Innovation has also helped drive California’s economy by creating jobs and helping to shape the state’s reputation in education, research, science and technology.”

Michael Mussallem, Chairman and CEO, Edwards Lifesciences

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Employing CaliforniansAll of this depends on the most important feature of the biomedical industry: people. Without the ability to attract and retain top talent, the level of innovation seen in California — from the research bench to the delivery of medical treatments to a patient — would be vastly diminished.

Medivation“There is a very large pool of talent in California in the life sciences area and the most important asset by far of any company is its employees. Being the birthplace of truly disruptive technologies like gene splicing and personal computers, California has a certain legacy and spirit of innovation, risk taking and entrepreneurialism that is essential in making life sciences companies successful.”

David Hung, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO, Medivation

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Innovating in CaliforniaIn the 21st century, the life sciences industry is converging with other high-tech industries – Internet, nanotechnology, wireless, and social networking, for example. As these industries make important advances, as the, the life sciences industry is cross-pollinated and therefore able to create and develop products that integrate technologies from different fields, like ingestible sensors to monitor drug response.

Proteus Digital Health“Building our products required us to recruit a team with expertise in low power analog circuit design, semiconductors, MEMS, pharmaceutical formulation, medical devices, telecommunications, mobile software applications, data and analytics and to raise well over $100MM in equity capital. Is there anywhere else in the world this would be possible?”

Andrew Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO, Proteus Digital Health

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Since the global financial meltdown in 2008, and the ensuing Great Recession, the biomedical industry, like the economy more broadly, has encountered stiff headwinds. Fueled by a steady stream of scientific discoveries and driven by patients desperate for new treatments and technologies for unmet medical needs, the industry has shown remarkable resilience in adapting to tough times.

Janssen“Persistence is the shared value for the most successful endeavors in the space. When you read about how long it takes and how you have to keep at it, you see that the key ingredient is a significant amount of persistence.”

Diego Miralles, Head, Janssen Healthcare Innovation

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From new medical products to jobs, the California life sciences industry contributes greatly to the state and beyond. We must continue to protect and nurture these biomedical innovation ecosystems so they can thrive and serve the needs of millions of Californians and patients around the world.

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