Los Angeles County Accelerates Bioscience Push With Appointment of Key Leaders

Posted on: 07/06/2018 00:00

Los Angeles County is expanding its commitment to the rapidly growing field of bioscience by appointing two executives to provide focused support to this industry sector and promote the County’s economic development priorities in the life sciences.

Dr. Brad Spellberg has been named the County’s medical director for bioscience. Spellberg is the Chief Medical Officer at LAC+USC Medical Center. He has an extensive background in biomedical research, and has done groundbreaking work on antibiotic-resistant superbugs.  As part of his new role, he will help catalyze the establishment and development of biotechnology parks in L.A. County, partnering with private sector, academic, non-profit and public entities.

Douglas S. Baron, a senior member of the County’s Chief Executive Office team, will serve as the County’s director of business development for bioscience. He will lead efforts to identify, grow, attract and retain businesses operating in the bioscience sector.

The appointments were announced by the County’s Chief Executive Officer, Sachi A. Hamai. 

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

Spellberg and Baron will work with a wide range of industry partners to help establish a new organization that will serve as an entrepreneurial hub for government, research institutions and the private sector.

The new organization’s aim will be to bring Los Angeles’s diverse bioscience resources together collaboratively to accelerate start-up activity and amplify economic opportunity throughout the region.

“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, who has championed the creation of a 15-acre biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus, funded a bioscience incubator at LA BioMed, and sought increased investments in bioscience startups and workforce development. “In Los Angeles County, the bioscience and life science industry generates more than $40 billion in economic activity annually and supports 70,000 direct jobs as well as 160,000 indirect jobs while having the potential to create even more—at all skill levels.”

Bioscience creates jobs for young and mid-skilled workers, as well as for scientists and entrepreneurs. The industry has proven resilient even in the face of economic downturns and was the only sector that continued to grow during the Great Recession.

“Like many growing fields in which Los Angeles County is at the forefront, bioscience creates jobs and saves lives,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “With bioscience a cornerstone of the LAC+USC ‘Healthy Village,’ we are providing our communities with access to world-class integrated health delivery. Brad and Doug’s efforts will support and expand our work to provide jobs and health care to all, and I am excited to celebrate their future successes.”

“With world-renowned tech giants including Caltech, pioneering biotech companies and visionary start-ups, Los Angeles County is leading the nation in innovation, research and development,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger.  “The county’s efforts to partner with research institutions and the private sector will result in greater economic growth, job creation and collateral success.”

The County’s efforts will draw on extensive research it has commissioned to identify where investments will make the greatest impact in strengthening the bioscience sector. With a $7.6-billion budget dedicated to health services, the County is uniquely positioned to help start-ups that are developing new devices, processes and therapies to improve health and quality of life.

These efforts are intended to expand the County’s ongoing investments in bioscience, including:

  • Providing capital funding for local bioscience incubators
  • Developing a biotech park on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Campus
  • Establishing a bioscience investment fund for early-stage startups in Los Angeles County
  • Partnering with community colleges and industry leaders to implement life sciences apprenticeship programs 

Bioscience was one of seven industries targeted by the Board of Supervisors when it established economic development as a priority in 2015.  This industry-specific focus is intended to produce a roadmap for similar initiatives in other sectors with high potential for stimulating regional job growth and economic opportunity.



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