Brad Spellberg

Brad Spellberg

Los Angeles County has appointed two executives to launch a new agency to promote the bioscience industry, officials announced July 5.

The county’s Chief Executive Office named Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at LAC+USC Medical Center, along with Douglas Baron, of the chief executive’s office, to form the as-yet unnamed agency. The goal is for the agency to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for government, research institutions and business.

“Brad and Doug have the vision and practical know-how to advance our goal of supporting new enterprises and local job growth and by tapping our region’s world-class research,” said county Chief Executive Sachi Hamai, in a statement.

Los Angeles County bioscience sector now generates $40.3 billion in economic activity and directly employs 70,000 workers who earn an average $73,000 each, according to Biocom L.A., the downtown Los Angeles-based industry trade group. The bioscience sector also gets $1 billion in research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Efforts to expand county investments in bioscience include $6 million in funding for bioscience incubators in El Sereno and Torrance; a newly signed agreement to develop a 15-acre biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center campus; a $15 million bioscience investment fund now being set up for early stage startups; and workforce training programs at community colleges.

“This approach will foster a vibrant business ecosystem that can help us realize the bioscience industry’s full potential as an economic engine,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a bioscience advocate.

Spellberg, a veteran biomedical researcher, will be charged with developing biotech parks and partnering with public agencies, institutions and private companies. Baron will be charged with growing the bioscience sector.