Life Science Industry in California Generates $131 Billion Annually, Providing 1.38M Jobs

Biocom California’s 2021 Economic Impact Report Highlights the Steady Growth of the Industry via New Index

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO & LOS ANGELES & SAN DIEGO--()--Biocom California, the association representing the California life science industry, today released a new report showing California’s life science industry provides over 1.38 million jobs in the region, with economic activity generating a total of $131 billion in 2020 alone. Biocom California’s 2021 Economic Impact Report highlights these key findings of the state’s life science industry, including information on economic, demographic, investment and industry performance.

The 2021 Economic Impact Report is a refreshed analysis and vital barometer of the profound impact that the life science industry has in California,” said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom California. “This report reveals how the last year affected our industry, its millions of related jobs and overall economic impact across the state, as well as how critical the life sciences have been during an unprecedented global pandemic. In sum, the industry experienced a positive 0.5 percent growth when compared to many other sectors of California’s economy, which contracted more than 7 percent. Overall, the work the industry undertakes every day has a significant economic impact on California, providing high-paying jobs across the state that contribute to the economic health of our communities.”

Key facts from the report include the following:

  • California received a total of $6.23 billion in research funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2020.
  • In 2020, venture capital directed to California’s life science innovators soared more than 60% to a record total of $15 billion.
  • Nearly 1,700 patents were granted in 2020.

For this year’s report, a new proprietary Biocom California Index was developed to track the performance of California’s life science sector over time based on a weighted-average of multiple metrics. The state’s life science sector has tripled since 2000, representing a compound annual average growth rate of 5.6%. In 2020, the Index jumped 19.6%, the largest gain over 21 years.

Across its many sectors, products and people, the life science industry is an incredibly complex ecosystem,” said Mr. Panetta. “Ranging from venture capitalists, government entities, universities, real estate brokers and patent attorneys, our industry relies on countless constituents to help it flourish, and new indicators such as VC funding and the number of granted patents highlighted in this year’s report give us a broader understanding of the current and potential future opportunities for the industry.”

Bay Area Life Science Industry

Among the nine counties that surround the San Francisco Bay, the life science industry employed nearly 179,000 individuals, supported more than 411,000 jobs and generated $159 billion in regional economic impact. The strongest sub-sectors, and those that are expected to lead future growth, are research and manufacturing, medical devices and equipment, and biotechnology.

San Diego County Life Science Industry

San Diego County’s life science industry directly employed more than 72,000 people in 2020, generating $27.7 billion in GRP. Considering all multipliers, life sciences was responsible for nearly 178,000 jobs with total earnings of $16 billion. Research and Manufacturing represented 45% of life sciences direct employment, with Biotechnology following at about 18% of direct employment. The County received nearly $1.2 billion in NIH funding.

Los Angeles County Life Science Industry

Los Angeles County represents nearly 20% of all life science direct employment in California — 96,844 direct jobs — the largest share of life sciences employment in the state. Los Angeles County also received more NIH funding than any other county in California with $1.94 billion awarded in 2020.

Additional fact sheets

About Biocom California

Biocom California is the leader and advocate for California’s life science sector. We work on behalf of more than 1,500 members to drive public policy, build an enviable network of industry leaders, create access to capital, introduce cutting-edge STEM education programs and create robust value-driven purchasing programs.

Founded in 1995 in San Diego, Biocom California provides the strongest public voice to research institutions and companies that fuel the local and state-wide economy. Our goal is simple: to help our members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition. In addition to our San Diego headquarters, Biocom California operates core offices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, satellite offices in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, and has a continuous staff presence in Sacramento. Our broad membership benefits apply to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, genomics and diagnostics companies of all sizes, as well as to research universities and institutes, clinical research organizations, investors and service providers.

For more information on Biocom California, please visit our website at Connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (@BIOCOMCA).


Carolyn Hawley
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5382


Carolyn Hawley
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5382