SF execs call for new incentives to boost biotech

The Bay Area biomedical sector nudged up total employment by 539 jobs last year, according to a new survey. And while that gives the San Francisco area bragging rights as the biggest life sciences cluster in the state, industry leaders say the negligible 1 percent jump in employment also underscores just how important it is for the state to find new ways to help sustain the sector.

Noting that the glass is half full, analysts for the California Healthcare Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers say that the industry is buoyed by young, vibrant developers who are bringing in sales and marketing help to start hawking new products. Noting that it could be better than half full, a group of life sciences execs are pushing for a statewide biotech director who could concentrate entirely on finding new ways to help grow employment even more.

"Even if the state is in no position to offer companies incentives, it's important that someone in the administration is paying attention to what is one of the largest industries in California, and work with the industry to make sure they don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg," Paul Hastings, CEO of OncoMed, told the San Jose Business Journal.

Tax breaks in other states are luring California's biotech leaders to set up new operations outside of California, they add, and the state needs to do more to keep those jobs on the West Coast.

- here's the story from the San Jose Business Journal