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The Strong Keep Getting Stronger: Why the Bay Area Remains #1 Biotech Hub for VC Investing

Nicole Reisinger
August 22, 2019

Whether you come to the Bay Area for the entrepreneurial talent, venture capital investment or biotech innovation, this trifecta conjures the perfect storm for regional economic success.

The enduring strength of the Northern California life science cluster attracts small biotech startups, which are subsequently finding massive success as venture capitalists turn their gaze from social networking and tech – industries that are inextricably associated with San Francisco and the greater Bay Area – towards the biotechnology industry.

California companies have long been a magnet for investment due to their proven ability to apply science to products that help patients, farmers and consumers. According to a new study published by California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, California is projected to secure the most VC life sciences funding in the nation.  In the second quarter 2019, San Francisco led the country in new investing with $866 million going into 54 deals for biotech and medtech.  Boston followed in second place with $540 million, and San Diego held on to third place with $167 million.

Surrounded by biotech powerhouses like Genentech, Gilead Sciences, BioMarin, Novartis and Amgen that call the Bay Area home, leading academic institutions like Stanford, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UCLA and University of California San Francisco play a pivotal role in providing a steady stream of research and talent to the biotech community. According to CLSA’s 2019 industry report , over 4,900 science and engineering Ph.D.s graduated from California institutions and are leading the state in the transfer of new technologies from the lab to the commercial sector. Further, the state was number one in NIH research grants.

BIO excited to host several events in the California region. Now in its 17th year, the BIO Investor Forum will take place October 22-23 in San Francisco and will attract more than 1,000 attendees representing emerging private and public companies and investors. Registration is now open, and company presentations are being accepted. And, mark your calendar, largest industry event, the BIO International Convention, will be coming to San Diego in June.