Bay Area: Fertile Ground for BioTech Evolution and Space

July 2011
T3 Advisors

T3 Advisors recently attended the San Francisco Business Journal BioTech Forum at the Hilton in Union Square.  The topic of discussion was what the future looks like for biotech and how California can keep its competitive edge.

The panel of experts (Peter Maag, Novartis Diagnostics|Larry Green, Ablexis|Rowan Chapman, Mohr Davidow Ventures|Pierre Cassigneul, XDx, Inc.) believe that one of the key drivers for the future will be the impact that diagnostics will have on healthcare. The advancement in science and technology coupled with our better understanding of the body and disease, has revolutionized diagnostics.  Today there are new sectors of diagnostics that provide truly personalized medicine approaches.  Biotech companies and doctors now have the ability to match the right patient with the right treatment at the right time.

It was also apparent form the discussion that there is a unique opportunity in healthcare around data.  There continues to be a macro trend within the industry to reduce cost through means of technology and tools.  Technologies are centered around the internet, mobile, and social vehicles and how they help personalize healthcare.  What better place to be than the Bay Area for tech!

The cross pollination of people and talent in the Bay Area is what drives the success of the biotech industry.  There is no doubt that the cluster of entrepreneurs and C-level management within the area outmatches any other state or country.  The one concern for the Bay Area is its ability to recruit quality clinical technicians.  The cost of living makes it hard for early stage companies to hire strong talent.  In addition, stringent California certification requirements limit peoples’ willingness to relocate to the Bay Area.  Biotech companies and organizations like BayBio continue to work with the state to improve the certification process.

It was great to see enthusiasm and optimism as I made my rounds in the room as everyone works to improve the quality of life for patients.  It was obvious that California continues to provide the necessary resources for the industry to thrive.  Rowan reiterated at the end of the discussion that “California will continue to be a fertile ground for evolution.”

As biotech companies continue to grow in California, real estate inherently becomes a key concern.  It is important for these companies to consider different locations as it relates to recruiting the best talent as well as potential economic incentives on both the federal and state levels.

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