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Strong Social Connections Needed for Biotech to Grow in Los Angeles
Date:9/16/2009

CLAREMONT, Calif., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Stronger connections among businesses, universities and, most importantly, people are necessary if the biotechnology industry is going to survive and thrive in Los Angeles, according to a new study by Professor Steven Casper at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI).

While Boston, San Diego and San Francisco have thriving biotechnology clusters, regions like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City have failed despite the presence of strong research universities and the availability of venture capital, two keys factors in the development of biotechnology clusters.

Casper, KGI's Henry E. Riggs Professor of Management and director of the Master of Bioscience program, concluded after an 18-month study that what's missing in those cities is a rich social network connecting scientists, entrepreneurs, managers and venture capitalists who are in the business of starting companies.

"Government can make the marketplace of ideas transparent and open," says Casper. "Local governments can offer tax incentives. But government can't create social networks."

After reviewing data on deal-making, alliances and career moves in his study ("The Marketplace for Ideas: Can Los Angeles Build a Successful Biotechnology Cluster?"), Casper developed three possible scenarios in which biotechnology clusters might take root and grow in Los Angeles:

  • Los Angeles area biotechnology firms could tie into the rich social network within the biomedical device industry that exists in Orange County, similar to what biotechnology industries in San Francisco did with the Silicon Valley's semi-conductor industry.
  • Caltech in Pasadena could serve as a catalyst for the biotechnology industry much like MIT has done in Boston. But while Caltech is the most likely university, it has no business school, there is no medical s
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SOURCE Keck Graduate Institute
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