Some 100 firms occupy more than 1.45 million square feet of commercial biolab space here, making the Berkeley-Emeryville cluster nearly 24 percent larger than Mission Bay. These companies are tackling the most urgent challenges of the day. Their work is saving lives, reducing energy costs, spawning new industries and generating jobs.
The cluster effect
It’s long been recognized that “the cluster effect” – locating similar businesses in proximity to one another – has the benefits of giving access to a larger pool of skilled labor, improving supply chains and increasing opportunities for the knowledge sharing that leads to innovation.
With numerous startups spinning out of UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory every year, companies that want to grow close to home can find a place to land in Berkeley and Emeryville.
Collaboration & expertise
It’s no accident that the Berkeley-Emeryville Bio Cluster is so successful. Located on the east shore of San Francisco Bay along Interstate 880, Berkeley and Emeryville are central to the Bay Area, with easy access to San Francisco and Silicon Valley and to the region’s great research universities.
The leadership in both cities puts strategic planning for economic development and nurturing a bio-ecosystem at the top of their respective agendas. Our city staffs have the expertise to facilitate review and approval of biotech projects and city policies have resulted in livable cities with next-generation fiber optic connections, transportation, good schools, a variety of housing options and abundant recreation and cultural amenities. But just as importantly, our neighboring cities engage in a degree of collaboration in support of the biotech industry that mirrors the healthy collegiality and competition found in the industry itself.
A rich bio-ecosystem
In Berkeley and Emeryville there’s a convergence of all the elements essential to the cultivation of a flourishing bio-ecosystem. “The emergence of biotechnology in the Bay Area came from the intellectual climate and the concentration of individuals in the field,” says Ed Penhoet, co-founder of the former Chiron Corporation in Emeryville, and himself one of the legendary lynchpins of the biotech industry. “Plus, we had before us the stellar example of the emergence of the electronics industry and this attitude of optimism and possibility. We believed we could do anything.” There are few places in the world that can claim the abundance of world-class research universities, laboratories and cutting-edge facilities found in Berkeley and Emeryville.
Our communities benefit from immediate proximity to a nearly $1 billion pipeline of research and development at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab and state-of-the art equipment and lab space. The university and lab generate and license intellectual property and support the commercialization of discovery and invention by staff and students. Perhaps most importantly, they are a source of brilliant scientists, researchers, engineers and innovators in business. The proximity and ongoing dialogue among industry experts, faculty and students, budding entrepreneurs and global businesses are invaluable to inspiring innovation, new companies and new industries.
A tradition of entrepreneurship
Berkeley and Emeryville have a longstanding tradition of incubating and accelerating entrepreneurial growth companies in the biosciences. Both startups and mature companies have easy access to global leaders in accounting, law, management and consulting, not to mention a host of other services and suppliers critical to their businesses.
Talented & skilled workforce
Berkeley and Emeryville are also magnets for skilled, technically trained workers and support personnel. Roughly 70 percent of working age residents (over age 25) in Berkeley and Emeryville have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Access to capital
Berkeley-Emeryville Bio Cluster companies have historically attracted investment from around the world. Increasingly, Bay Area biotech firms are diversifying their funding sources among government grants, angel investors, venture capital and licensing agreements and partnerships. “Since March of this year, there’s been a huge sea change in funding for biotech,” says Gail Maderis, president & CEO of BayBio. “A number of IPOs have been issued since June and we’re seeing funds flow back into the industry. I’m very optimistic about the future.”
Social & professional networking
An intellectual environment that facilitates the free flow of information sharing thrives in the close-knit Berkeley-Emeryville Bio community. Organizations like the Berkeley-Emeryville Bio Cluster, BayBio, East Bay EDA, QB3 and the QB3 East Bay Innovation Center facilitate meet ups, educational conferences and other opportunities to come together to make the contacts and connections that encourage communication and collaboration.