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Thursday, Sep 28, 2023



Hed: …And let’s not forget biomed

L.A.’s biomed industry is made up of 500 to 700 companies employing better than 24,000 people. It has received more research grants from the National Institutes of Health than any other metropolitan area in the nation. Its businesses produce everything from drugs to bionic implants.

In short, it should be a formidable presence but it barely gets noticed among policy makers and venture capitalists.

Why? For a lot of reasons, starting with L.A.’s size, the over-emphasis on entertainment and the fact that most of the area’s biomed companies are small- to medium-sized operations and thus all too easy to overlook.

That’s a big mistake. As we detail in this week’s Health Care Quarterly Special Report, Los Angeles is one of the nation’s leading biomed centers and with a little more attention, it could become an even greater force. Certainly, it should eclipse Orange County and San Diego, which receive far more than their share of industry attention.

The trick is to convince local governments that biomed needs some nurturing, especially on the regulatory front. Biomed companies face far too many hurdles in their efforts to secure permits for storing hazardous materials, to dispose of waste water and other basics of the business. Health and environmental concerns shouldn’t go unchecked, of course but neither should they be overstated just for the sake of bureaucratic paper-pushing.

Somehow, city officials have managed to ease the regulatory burdens for film and television production, so we know it can be done. What’s required is a more equitable approach; even less-than-glamorous industries deserve the same consideration as show business.

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