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Bioscience LA Expects Early 2019 Launch

Los Angeles County is launching a nonprofit agency in conjunction with leading biotechnology companies that will aim to serve as an “innovation catalyst” for the region’s $40 billion bioscience industry.

Bioscience Los Angeles County – or BioLA – is expected to launch in early 2019, funding efforts to create bioscience jobs, build facilities and draw further investment.

The nonprofit agency, now filling out its board with a dozen founding members, is recruiting a chief executive and is looking to set up shop in Culver City. It hopes to raise up to $9 million in operating expenses from its board in the next three years.

BioLA’s offices should open for business sometime during the first quarter, said L.A. County’s medical director for biosciences Brad Spellberg, who also serves as chief medical officer of the L.A. County USC Medical Center.

“Los Angeles County is so unfathomably large, you can’t point to anywhere and say, ‘That’s where the biotech hub is,’” Spellberg said. “One of the missions will be to make more apparent to investors all over the world that we’re already a major player in biotech.”

Trade group Biocom LA and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. are developing an online bioscience outreach and information website that will become the website for BioLA, Spellberg said.

The county’s Chief Executive Office is also seeking a manager to run an investment fund for the sector. Seeded by a $15 million loan from the county, the Los Angeles Bioscience Investment Fund aims to raise between $45 million and $60 million to support startup firms.

Spellberg said the purpose of the fund was two-fold: “It signals that the county, and those who run it, are wholly dedicated to growing biotechnology in the area. And it provides funding to allow new companies to start here, and existing companies to move here, so that we can grow business in the area.”

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NEW CEO FOR BIOSCIENCE GROUP

The California Life Sciences Association, one of three bioscience trade groups with offices in Los Angeles County, has named a Mike Guerra as its new chief executive.

Guerra will lead the South San Francisco-based association – with offices in Monrovia, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. – effective Jan. 7. He replaces Sara Radcliffe.

He had previously served as a vice president of Avidity Science, a Wisconsin-based maker of water purification systems and laboratory equipment for scientific research and healthcare facilities.

He also worked 14 years as an executive at VWR International, a Pennsylvania-based global distributor and manufacturer of products for the life sciences industry.

The CLSA was founded in 2015 as the result of a merger of the Bay Area Bioscience Association and the California Healthcare Institute.

Both CSLA and San Diego-based Biocom Inc., which has an office downtown, claim to be the largest bioscience trade groups in the state. The Southern California Biomedical Council is a member-supported trade group also representing firms based in Los Angeles and nearby counties.

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CARMELITOS CLINIC OPENS IN LONG BEACH

A new community health clinic is opening in North Long Beach.

The new Carmelitos Health Clinic will open early this year inside the Carmelitos Public Housing Community, home to more than 1,700 residents.

The clinic was unveiled in December by the Community Development Commission and Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles. It will provide primary care and minor emergency treatment in eight exam rooms, in addition to preventative care, and substance abuse and mental health services.

“The health clinic’s comprehensive services and community model will give our residents the best opportunity at improving health outcomes while meeting individual needs,” Monique King-Viehland, executive director of the CDC/HACLA agency, said in a statement.

The Carmelitos Health Clinic will be operated by the Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, a 52-year-old nonprofit health care agency based downtown that spent more than $200,000 to renovate the space to build the clinic.

Staff reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8333.

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