A researcher in an Eli Lilly lab. Courtesy Eli Lilly and Co.
A researcher at Eli Lilly, which is doubling its research operations in San Diego. Courtesy Eli Lilly and Co.

California’s life sciences sector is the largest of any state with some 2,848 companies directly or indirectly employing nearly one million people and generating $132 billion in revenue.

And while biopharmaceutical and medical device employment in numerous states, including New York and New Jersey, has decreased in recent years, employment in California grew by six percent between 2010 and 2014.

Those were among the conclusions of the annual California Life Sciences Industry Report, which was released Thursday by the San Diego-based California Life Sciences Association and the consulting firm PwC US.

“California’s life sciences ecosystem is driving the economy and delivering life-changing medicines and technologies that benefit health and well-being far beyond our state’s borders,” said Sara Radcliffe, president and CEO of the association.

“The sector is a state treasure, and we look forward to working with officials at all levels — locally, in Sacramento and in Congress — to ensure we protect and promote the sector and the promise and hope it offers to millions around the world.”

Among the report’s other findings:

  • California life sciences companies have 1,235 new drugs in the development pipeline
  • Those companies directly employ 281,000 people and indirectly employ another 581,000
  • The industry paid workers $30.6 billion in salaries and wages during 2014 with the average annual salary at $108,893
  • California scientists received $3.26 billion in National Institutes of Health research grants in federal fiscal year 2015 — the most of any state in the nation
  • $4.79 billion in life sciences venture capital is projected to be invested in California companies in 2015 — more than double that of the second ranked state, Massachusetts

Radcliffe said that despite its growth, the industry faces challenges and her organization is working to make it easier for entrepreneurs to move new ideas forward as well as protect their intellectual property.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.