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.
L.A. County Selects Leadership for Bioscience Promotion Agency