San Diego 2nd in genomics, study finds

San Diego County is the nation’s second-leading center for genomics research and products, according to a study released Monday by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

The genomics industry contributes $5.6 billion annually to the county’s economy, directly creating more than 10,000 jobs, the report said.

The complete study will be available at sandiegobusiness.org/research-center. Its release coincides with the opening of the 2017 convention by BIO, the nation’s biotechnology trade association, at the San Diego Convention Center.

Boston narrowly edged out San Diego and third-place San Francisco Bay Area for the top spot, according to EDC research director Kirby Brady. Boston prevailed because of the presence of large pharmaceutical companies and top research organizations such as the Broad Institute, she said.

San Diego’s life sciences industry is younger than that of the Bay Area and Boston, she said, so the region’s life science infrastructure has had less time to mature. But the county’s strengths make up for that relative youth, she said.

To quantify the rankings, the report used objective data as research and venture capital funding, genomics patents and the number of graduates with a genomics education.

San Diego County ranked first in the number of genomics patents, with 371 issued from 2014 to 2016. It also ranked first in the number of genomics-ready graduates, relative to the size of its workforce.

Its educational institutions also grant the most degrees in biochemistry, cognitive science and bioinformatics, the report stated. An average of 1,968 genomics-related degrees are conferred.

Companies located in the county, home to about 1 percent of the American population, received 22 percent of venture capital funding for genomics in 2016, the report found.

San Diego’s genomics industry had the advantage of strong local genomics programs in every step of the…

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