BioLA: An Investment in Our Future

The Los Angeles Bioscience Summit on September 20, 2018  provided a public preview of BioLA, which provides for collaboration between the public and private sectors in the County of Los Angeles.  

BioLA is an initiative that partners the likes of the County of LA, Amgen, and LA BioMed to develop a cohesive strategy that enhances the ecosystem of health and biosciences. This “Infrastructure for Inclusion”—a phrase coined by one of the speakers, Susan Windham-Bannister— tackles three important facets of the economy in Los Angeles: investment in ideas, institutions, and workforce education that underscores the diversity of our economy.

The first measure of the collaboration focuses on a $15 million bioscience investment fund focused to “deliberately move towards engaging the public sector with the private sector,” according to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. This fund seeks to serve as a baseline endowment to draw investors from venture capital funds who seek to participate in Los Angeles’ flourishing ecosystem, that already supports nearly $40.3 billion in economic output annually.

Secondly, BioLA’s increasing exposure to institutions that foster the growth of innovation is further underscored by the US Department of Commerce’s recent funding ($4 million) of incubators at research universities such as Cal State LA and UCLA.  The promotion of local, public research universities enriches not only the universities themselves, but the surrounding communities as well.

Finally, aside from the investment in innovation and institutional enrichment, the investment in a middle education workforce—through the combined force of Grifols and local academic institutions like LA Valley College, Cal State LA and LATTC— provides for socioeconomic advancement that encourages prosperity across all opportunity zones. The strategic interests of local economic development not only bolsters a new generation of skilled workers, but also prepares Los Angeles for the imminent explosion of bioscience innovation in our county.

Commercialization of investments in R&D and building sustainable programs that increase the output of science-based ventures are topics close to Larta’s interests. Since 2004, Larta has managed  the National Institutes of Health’s key commercialization program, the nationally-recognized Commercialization Accelerator Program (or CAP)  designed to increasethe rate of commercialization for bioscience start-ups funded by the agency. Larta’s NIH CAPis now deployed across a wide geography of over 75 companies a year, engaging multiple scientific disciplines, and has developed an ecosystem that has generated $1B+ raised by bioscience alumni companies, created 3,000+ jobs, and resulted in 48 acquisitions.  In the Los Angeles region alone, Larta has worked with more than 170 companies in the biosciences. More recently, in partnership with LA BioMed, Larta adapted its model to support the former’s bioscience spinouts and speed their innovations to the marketplace.

As the County of LA continues to evolve its strategy with BioLA, Larta looks forward to being a close ally and partner.

Read more here: