A scientist working at a San Diego life sciences company. Image from CONNECT video

The genomics industry has a $5.6 billion annual economic impact on San Diego County, with more than 115 firms employing a total of around 10,000 people, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. reported Monday.

Every job in the industry — which involves the study of the human genome and development of gene-research products — supports an additional 2.5 workers, according to the EDC. The study also found that genomics accounted for 0.7 percent of employment in the region but 2.4 percent of gross regional product.

The first of its kind report was released at the BIO International national conference for the life sciences industry at the San Diego Convention Center.

“Twenty years ago, healthcare meant treating an ailment as it arose,” said Mark Cafferty, the EDC’s president and CEO.

“Today, thanks to research and scientific discovery, personalized medicine has enabled us to predict and potentially combat disease and illness. And San Diego is leading this charge. With collaboration at our core, San Diego genomics companies, research institutes and universities are actively changing lives, curing disease and revolutionizing healthcare as we know it.”

Among other findings:

  • Of the 10,000 jobs, 62.3 percent were in biotechnology research and development, 17.5 percent were in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, 13.6 percent in medical devices and diagnostic equipment, and 6.6 percent in health information technology.
  • The region received $292 million in genomics-related venture capital last year, or 22 percent of the U.S. total.
  • The region also was awarded $38 million in federal funding.
  • Companies and scientists in the area were awarded 371 patents in 2014-16.
  • And San Diego’s universities confer an average of 1,968 genomics-related degrees each year, the most in the U.S. per 10,000 jobs.

The median hourly wage of a worker in genomics in San Diego was $36.27, fourth among major U.S. cities behind San Francisco, San Jose and Chicago. When adjusted for cost of living, San Diego’s pay rate slipped to ninth, according to the report.

— City News Service

Show comments