August 15, 2016
The Honorable Kevin de León
Senate President pro Tempore
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Senate Concurrent Resolution 161 – SUPPORT
Dear President pro Tempore de León:
On behalf of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), an organization whose purpose is to raise standards of living for the residents of L.A. County by increasing economic opportunity and regional prosperity, I am writing to offer our support of the precepts contained in Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 161, titled: “Los Angeles Basin: Bioscience Hub”, which would promote the Los Angeles region as a world-leading bioscience hub, and would declare the intent of the legislature to develop and encourage state and local policy proposals that focus on the Los Angeles region’s bioscience industry.
The Los Angeles regional economy is a tapestry of diversity and opportunity, and possesses an abundance of human, economic, physical, education, capital, and research and development (R&D) assets. These built-in assets provide the L.A. basin with distinct comparative advantages vis-à-vis other regions and nations, for that matter, to catalyze and drive economic success in the 21st century economy, which is characterized by globally-connected, innovation-oriented and capital-intensive industries, such as bioscience.
The bioscience industry, similar to the aerospace, entertainment and information technology industries, tends to develop in geographic clusters drawn into the area by labor market pooling, strong affiliations to major science universities, supplier specializations, and so-called “spawning” companies, as knowledge and capital spill over to incubate more firms. As the cluster forms, support infrastructure such as venture capitalists, consultants, industry associations, specialized law firms and architects also begin to develop. This “web” of cluster firms, talent, research, capital, physical spaces, networks and support services means that as new firms form and mature in the region there is strong motivation to remain here in the area. And so, as concentrations of businesses, support services, suppliers and competitors grow, they generate better products and improved processes, attracting skilled workers and becoming even more competitive while gaining market share.
This virtuous cycle describes the promise of industry cluster development as a touchstone economic development program in the 21st century.
Accordingly, the LAEDC, as the economic development leadership organization for this nation-sized, $664 billion L.A. economy, is committed to the success and growth of the region’s bioscience industry, along with other innovation-intensive industries, e.g., advanced transportation, space commercialization, in which the region has productive advantages. In particular, Los Angeles’s bioscience industry involves a number of diverse markets and includes manufacturing, services, and myriad research activities in sectors as diverse as therapeutics, medical devices, testing and distribution. As important, the region’s bioscience industry offers high-value, high-wage jobs at every education and skill level along the industry’s product/service value chain continuum, from skilled machinists to technicians to clinicians to the researchers, designers, engineers and scientists who will develop and commercialize the next wave of life-saving therapies and medical devices.
As the author of SCR 161, we commend your leadership in recognizing the need for specialized economic development initiatives to support and grow the bioscience industry here in the Los Angeles region. Reinforcing the objectives outlined in SCR 161, the LAEDC has been commissioned by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. County Community Development Commission to develop an L.A. County Bioscience Industry Implementation Plan, which provides a set of action-oriented steps, costs and benchmarks to further develop, expand and grow L.A. County’s bioscience industry.
This implementation plan, which has recently been submitted to the county in preliminary form, is founded on and guided by the core principles that there is no one set of policies that will make all industry clusters – including bioscience – successful, and that regional economic development success is somewhat path dependent, where successful economic development strategies are usually those that extend, refine or recombine the region’s existing strengths. And so, the set of opportunities available to L.A. County in bioscience are shaped, in large part, by:
- Identifying the economic activities already established;
- Aligning the landscape of physical, economic, networking, R&D, capital and talent assets already in place;
- Building on or recombining those unique assets and strengths; and
- Filling any gaps.
Through this process, the LAEDC conducted thousands of collective hours of primary quantitative and qualitative research, discovering that the Los Angeles region possesses many of the discrete assets necessary for the dynamic and fast-paced growth of the bioscience industry in the region. But, these assets are oftentimes not very well-aligned, and there are still too many gaps, such as access to early-stage capital, affordable lab space and skilled talent at all levels. Consequently, it will require that the L.A. region’s public, private, education and not-for-profit sectors come together to execute on this soon-to-be released L.A. County Bioscience Implementation Plan. Your resolution represents an important step in delivering on this goal to engender an agglomerated, multi-sector approach to this regional bioscience industry capacity building effort.
For all of these reasons, we support SCR 161, and we look forward to working with you, your office and the entire Los Angeles County state legislative delegation to implement the goals of this resolution, as articulated in the L.A. County Bioscience Industry Implementation Plan.
LAEDC, President & COO