California’s biopharma sector showed slower job growth, but faster company growth, than the state’s life sciences industry as a whole last year, the state’s life-sci trade group said today.

The California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and PwC US said in their 2017 California Life Sciences Industry Report that the Golden State continued to lead the nation in key categories that include biopharmaceutical and medical device jobs, venture capital investment, digital health VC investment, and doctoral recipients in life sciences disciplines.

CLSA and PwC reported that biopharmaceutical employment last year stood at 47,985 jobs across California, up just 1.7% from 47,171 jobs a year earlier.

Biopharma is one of six subcategories of employment within the life sciences as defined by the report. The other five are medical devices, instruments, and diagnostics; R&D and testing labs; wholesale trade (distribution of pharmaceuticals or hospital equipment); academic research; and biorenewables, such as ethanol or organic compound manufacturing.

However, 287,201 people were employed statewide last year in for-profit companies, universities, and nonprofit research institutes within the life sciences—up 2.3% from 280,765 in 2014.

Not surprisingly, the largest number of California life-sci jobs were based in the San Francisco Bay Area (68,313), followed by Los Angeles County (57,174), the LA suburb of Orange County (43,327), and San Diego County (38,694). The regions all appear in this year’s GEN List of Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters.

According to the CLSA/PwC report, California had 1326 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies last year, up nearly 12% from 1186 in 2014, according to last year’s edition of the report. The statewide total number of life sci companies—which includes device and medical equipment manufacturing concerns—stood at 3040, up 6.7% from 2848 in 2014.

California led the nation in life sciences venture capital investment, attracting $4.43 billion this year, the report said. But the 2016 data includes a projection of the third and fourth quarters based on data from the first half of this year. Massachusetts was second with $2.94 billion and New York third with $352 million—and both states saw VC increases over 2015, while California’s total dipped 1.7% from $4.51 billion last year.

Other report highlights:

  • Digital health VC investment: California attracted $1.6 billion this year, 39% of the nation’s total $4.1 billion. The figures that include projected VC data for Q3 and Q4. Both the nation and California saw less VC investment in the category over last year, when the state saw $2.1 billion. The category includes wearables and biosensors, consumer health and wellness technologies, digital diagnostics, devices and therapies, and other areas.
  • Doctoral recipients in life sciences disciplines: California conferred 1318 life-sci doctoral degrees in 2014, ahead of New York (909), Texas (904), and Massachusetts (667).
  • Drug pipeline: California biopharmas had 1269 therapies in their pipelines this year through September 7, up from 1235 in 2015 through September 30. Cancer treatments remained the largest category, rising to 404 this year from 366 in 2015.
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