Providing you with a glimpse into the exciting developments in the Los Angeles biotech ecosystem, we hosted our 9th Annual Biotech Summit: LA’s Role in the Global Biotech Community. The event featured distinguished speakers and innovative companies who shared their experiences and strategies for thriving in this evolving field.
Keynote Address by Dan Gober: Biocom's Advocacy for Biotech Growth in LA
Dan Gober, with his impressive 30+ year career in the biotech industry, set the tone for the event. He emphasized the significance of building a robust biotech ecosystem in Los Angeles. Gober, representing Biocom, the world's largest life science advocacy organization with 1,800 member companies, discussed the importance of a united biotech community in Southern California. The data showcased strong growth in NIH awards, a robust labor force, and a thriving economic output in the region. Los Angeles, in particular, experienced a 10% growth in biotech companies and a 7% growth in research and testing in 2023, contributing to a vibrant life science community.
Session 1 - LA Success Stories
During the first session, we heard inspiring success stories from leading biotech companies. Protomer Technologies, a company specializing in responsive biotherapeutics, highlighted the key ingredients of a thriving ecosystem. They emphasized the importance of being part of a flourishing community, having access to supportive advisors and mentors, and the value of non-diluted grants and affordable lab space incubators. Joe de Rutte, Co-founder and CEO of Partillion Bioscience, shared his journey from a mere research lab to a venture-backed startup, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and leveraging the UCLA ecosystem for progress. Dom Hebrault, Life Science Market Development Lead at Varda Space Industries gave attendees a thought-provoking presentation emphasizing the potential of microgravity being economically viable for pharmaceutical R&D and production.
Session 2 - Blueprint for Success: Building a Thriving Biotech Ecosystem
During the second panel session, the concept of “cross-pollination” emerged as a critical factor to the success of biotech companies in Los Angeles. This term emphasizes the continuous cycle of knowledge exchange and collaboration within the industry. The conversation also revolved around efforts to increase cross-pollination, highlighting the importance of establishing large campuses that support innovation and the growth of biotech companies. The panel acknowledged that while collaboration is happening on a smaller scale within individual hubs, there is currently no critical mass collaboration in Los Angeles. This assertion brought forth careful consideration among the audience that critical mass collaboration can lead to a synergistic effect where a collection of diverse talents and ideas can come together to solve complex problems and facilitate creativity. Panelists observed that while Los Angeles may be perceived as 10-15 years behind more established biotech ecosystems, this temporal gap represents a unique advantage. Los Angeles has the privilege of learning from the successes and challenges of those preceding it, enabling it to chart a more strategic and efficient course towards success. Additionally, the discussion touched on the perception of career risk associated with moving their headquarters to Los Angeles. Instead of viewing this as a drawback, the panelists saw it as a catalyst for growth and transformation. They emphasized the potential for individuals to harness their entrepreneurial spirit and drive innovation within the city. In essence, the "Blueprint for Success" panel illuminated the multifaceted challenges and opportunities facing the Los Angeles biotech community and emphasized the importance of creating an ecosystem that supports collaboration and innovation to thrive in this dynamic field.
Session 3 - Bridging Continents: LA's Role in International Biotech Ventures
Session 3 accentuated the significance of supporting Los Angeles-based companies in their global ventures while simultaneously attracting companies from around the world to explore the vast opportunities in Los Angeles. It became evident that international relationships and investments are crucial for propelling the biotech industry's growth. The panelists addressed a fundamental question: “Why should companies come to LA, and what makes it so unique?” The response lay in Los Angeles' diverse and inclusive environment, accommodating foreign founders and offering a platform for creative people to converge, exchange ideas, and foster a divergence of perspectives. Los Angeles emerged as a truly global city, reflecting a lifestyle that combines innovation, cultural diversity, and a unique environment conducive to biotech entrepreneurship.
Concluding the event, Nucleate hosted a networking happy hour that provided attendees with the perfect opportunity to connect with industry experts, mentors, and colleagues. We extend special thanks to our mentors for attending and offering their expertise in a variety of fields. During our catered mentorship lunch hour, they generously shared their wealth of knowledge and expertise across various biotech fields. In summary, the BCLA 9th Annual Biotech Summit demonstrated that Los Angeles is evolving into a vibrant biotech hub. With a strong emphasis on collaboration, innovation, and community, it's clear that Los Angeles is poised to become a global leader in the biotech industry.