California Life Sciences Releases 2021 Sector Report

The life sciences industry demonstrated significant resilience to the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, SAN DIEGO, LOS ANGELES, SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California Life Sciences (CLS), the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, today released its annual report showing that California’s life sciences sector directly employed 313,230 people, attracted $12.5 billion in venture capital (VC) and received $5.0 billion in funding from the NIH. The 2021 Sector Report highlights these key findings and other economic, employment and academic contributions to the state of California.

“Our annual Sector Report provides a wholistic assessment of our complex ecosystem and our state’s overall impact to the broader industry and economy,” said Mike Guerra, president and CEO of California Life Sciences. “This report reveals the impact of the pandemic, access to capital, valuations, employee recruitment, health equity, supply chain challenges, clinical trials, M&A, outsourcing, company culture and more. Despite the challenges, the industry has responded with resilience and continued growth.”

“COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks, stealing lives and stymying economies. I’m proud that California’s life sciences sector has been so critical to providing solutions—from testing and supplies to vaccines and new therapeutics,” said Melinda Richter, Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS and Chair of the CLS Board of Directors. “Our latest Sector Report details how we can respond to policy challenges, health inequities and workforce vulnerabilities, so that we can continue to foster innovation to deliver healthier lives for all.”

This year’s CLS Sector Report also investigates the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in life sciences—including in-depth interviews with industry stakeholders—helping assess the industry’s achievements and remaining obstacles.

Other Key Takeaways Include:

  • The number of life sciences establishments in the state increased by 3% from 2019, primarily driven by gains in the Research, Testing, and Medical Laboratories subsector.
  • The industry and its supply chain together contributed $411 billion in economic output and an estimated $42 billion in total tax revenues to the state economy.
  • Biomedical exports decreased slightly from $26.4 billion in 2021 to $25.8 billion in 2020. This slight decrease may be in part due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as worldwide quarantines, stay at home orders, and closed travel borders decreased production and export capabilities nationwide.
  • California’s life sciences industry contributed significantly to COVID-19 vaccine research and development. As of January 2022, out of all 79 COVID-19 vaccine developments in the United States, more than a quarter have been sponsored by or primarily supported by organizations in California and over half of them (i.e., 43) have clinical trials taking place in California.

  “California plays an outsized role in advancing innovative, life-saving solutions including treatment breakthroughs for many patients with unmet needs,” said Dirksen Lehman, Corporate Vice President of Public Affairs at Edwards Lifesciences. “We must advocate for positive policies that strengthen the innovation ecosystem and a regulatory environment that supports bold ideas.”

This report was produced in partnership with KPMG. The full report can be downloaded here.


California Life Sciences (CLS) is the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, advocating for the sector and its diverse innovation pipeline. For more than 30 years, CLS has served the community by supporting companies of all sizes, from early-stage innovators and startups to established industry leaders in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology. As integral components of a healthy and collaborative ecosystem, CLS also works closely with universities, academic and research institutions, the investment community, and other critical partners that promote this vibrant sector. With offices in South San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, CLS works to shape public policy, improve access to breakthrough technologies, educate lawmakers, and advance equity within our ecosystem by championing innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In doing so, CLS fulfills its mission to protect and nurture California’s life sciences industry, empowering discoveries that lead to healthier lives around the world. #WeAreCaliforniaLifeSciences




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