Friday, March 24, 2017

Chart of the week: Cambridge and San Francisco uber alles

Credit: Bruce Booth
By LifeSciVC's Bruce Booth, quite the long article about why Massachusetts and San Francisco are pulling ahead in biopharma:
As a macro point, these data reflect the intuitive sense we have of recruiting talent from other regions into Boston: with regards to R&D teams, prior Pharma hubs are shrinking rapidly while Boston is growing. We’ve even recruited a few sun-loving San Diego biopharma vets to move to the Boston market recently.
Readers are probably quite tired of me pounding on this point (and I should limit myself to one of these posts about every month or so.) What does this mean? I'll take a couple of stabs:
  • If you are a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who intends to work in biopharma, picking an institution that has a healthy pipeline into universities or companies in the Bay Area or Boston would be key. 
  • Although I suspect job security would be no greater than anywhere else, the likelihood of moving would be lower for scientists who live in these areas. 
  • Economic development organizations should consider other new, exciting fields to attempt to start local clusters long before they consider trying to start a biopharma cluster. What is your town going to do that Seattle hasn't done
Overall, you should go read this piece - it's very well done and it's definitely food for thought. 

7 comments:

  1. Two key rules for running a successful business: 1) Know thy market & 2) Know thyself. This applies to regional economic development interest groups. I'm in the mountain west region, and my city REALLY wants a thriving tech industry, so much so that the state government has pumped a tremendous amount of money into computer sciences and materials sciences programs at the state universities (a new glut of PhDs in the making). However, if one stops and looks at the actual growth figures, primary health care and agricultural production (including dairy) are the biggest economic drivers in the region. How many med schools in my state? Zero. How many degree programs in food sciences? Zero. I applaud efforts to bootstrap the local economies, but these efforts have to be tied to reality. Every city likes to claim that they're going to be the next S.F. or Boston, but the underlying assumption is that S.F., Boston, etc are simply going to roll over and stop doing what they do best. Incumbency is a force not to be trifled with.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      You wrote of your being in the mountain west region, your state and city pining for a "thriving tech industry". Some governments of states, notably on the East Coast, are willing to prime start-ups with initial grants. How is that in your state? Can you provide a clue about which state you are currently located in? Thanks!

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  2. Convincing local/state governments to invest developing 'biotech clusters', I'm sure, is good business for BGC/Mckinsey drones (FLA, TX, NC, IL, WA, and no doubt others have poured much good money to build these Monorails!....monorail.....monorail!).

    Looking at Dr. Booth's charts on time and value at exit one has to wonder, given the substantial error bars, if SF/Boston firms really do provide a better ROI: presumably operating expenses are also more expensive in these in these Bethlehems of Btech, decreasing the net value of these exits.

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    1. Those same BCG, McKinsey, etc types are telling pharma executives that the scientists will magically become 30% more innovative when exposed to Boston or SF's magic innovation fairy dust, while the next minute they're telling some client in the economic development office of Billings, Boise, etc that starting a new biotech hub is a great idea.

      By the way, anyone who uses the word "innovation" should be treated with extreme suspicion!

      "One has to wonder, given the substantial error bars, if SF/Boston firms really do provide a better ROI" - I couldn't have said it better myself!

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  3. With weather like Boston's, why would you look anywhere else!?

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    1. Don't forget about the incredibly efficient roadways in Boston.

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  4. Both very expensive. Not where I'd want to set up shop.

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