Editorial: A nurturing home for biotech boom

The San Francisco-Peninsula axis has posted another significant advance in its bid to become unchallengeable as the world’s leading center for bio-technology research and production.

The latest win is that PDL BioPharma is moving its corporate headquarters from the East Bay into 450,000 square feet at two high-rise towers in Redwood City and will bring at least 500 new employees to San Mateo County in mid-2007.

PDL BioPharma currently has 1,000 employees in the U.S. and France. It develops therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The company will become perhaps the fourth largest biotech employer on the Peninsula, joining other major biotech campuses Amgen, Genentech and Elan.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a roster of biotechnology research firms is forming around Mission Bay, the emergent home of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which California voters funded with $3 billion to invest in potentially lifesaving stem cell therapies during the next decade.

The convergence of all these developments could be the economic mechanism that returns the Bay Area to the virtually unprecedented peak of prosperity that existed here during the brief dot-com boom. But invention and commercialization of medications to eradicate seemingly incurable diseases would appear to be a more dependable basis for long-term prosperity than selling pet food via the Internet.

Despite the good news the Bay Area already has enjoyed with its existing biotech enterprises, continued local expansion of this vital industry cannot simply be awaited without ongoing positive efforts. New businesses and laboratories will not continue setting up shop here unless their presence is nurtured.

Numerous recent economic studies have shown that what draws technology enterprises to this region, despite its admittedly high costs, is an outstanding pool of information industry workers, an inviting lifestyle and a reasonably welcoming governmental environment for business. None of these factors can be neglected.

Bay Area residents learned about negative impacts of a local economic boom during the dot-com days. Rentals and housing prices went through the roof while highway gridlock made commuting a twice-daily torture. These are difficult problems to overcome, but our recent boom-time experience could help us cope with it better this time around.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties have the potential to be highly effective natural allies in attracting the biotechnology industry. The City and the Peninsula should have the vision to join together in forming an aggressive bicounty agency to bring in the biotech giants of tomorrow.

editorialsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A ban on smoking or vaping in multi-unit buildings has drawn opposition from cannabis advocates, who say it would leave users with no legal place to consume a legal substance. (Shutterstock)
Cannabis group slams Yee’s proposed apartment smoking ban as ‘classist’

Legislation would impose fines of $1,000 a day on repeat violators

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Most Read