On October 14th, Friday evening, California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) hosted its annual Orange County Public Officials Reception at the Cove. The event provided a forum for elected officials and members of the life science community to connect, share ideas, and engage in dialogue. Previous receptions have included Members of Congress, their staff, California State legislators, City Council Members, County Supervisors, and other statewide elected officials. A diverse cross-section of industry and government officials were in attendance.
The event began with a keynote from Don Bobo, Corporate Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for Edwards Lifesciences and Vice Chairman of CLSA. Bobo extended his gratitude to UCI, CLSA, and all of the people who put the event together. He provided a brief history of the company's origins, originally founded in Orange County as one of the first life sciences companies. Highlighting the development of Edwards' core product by the founders and their patient-centric approach, Bobo shared that many of the regulations set by the FDA were already being implemented at the company due to their rigorous approach. Citing the deep roots the company has with Orange County, he mentioned the partnership with UCI through the Edwards Lifesciences Cardiovascular Center being a collaborative effort and thanked the elected officials for their support. As the sponsor of this evening's event, Bobo shared Edwards was grateful to be a part of the community.
Following Bobo's keynote were remarks by Carolyn Stephens, Associate Director and Chief of Staff for Applied Innovation. With the Cove serving as host of the event space, Stephens thanked everyone for attending. She then shared a brief overview of Applied Innovation in its relation to the entrepreneur innovation ecosystem. With half of the IP coming out of UCI related to the medical field, this equates to 65 or so disclosures of remarkable discoveries ripe for commercialization.
Next, CLSA President & CEO Sara Radcliffe shared their mission and some key figures on the impact of the life sciences industry on the California economy. With a mission to advocate for effective policies that grow jobs in the economy, CLSA dedicates itself to preserving and growing an industry comprised of over 2,800 companies supporting 281,000 jobs and over 500,000 jobs indirectly. The total value generated by these companies total to $36.4 Billion in California. They also shared their enthusiasm for the new relationship with UCI and OCTANe to expand the network of advocates and amplify the voice of the life sciences sector at the local, state, and federal level.
Elected officials then shared some perspectives beginning with Assembly Member Travis Allen. As a native of Huntington Beach, he shared that spaces such as the Cove represent an opportunity for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and our academics to collaborate freely. He shared his hope that this intersection of stakeholders leads to greater commerce and more developments in the future. Thematically, he saw the Cove as entirely appropriate given his background as a Southern California surfer. As an author of legislation to keep bonfires in place at beaches across the region, he was glad to see this element recognized in the event space. He sees California as not only a beacon of technology and innovation, but also as a dream destination and one of the nicest places on earth.
State Controller Betty Yee shared that as controller of the fifth largest local economy, she has great hope for the future. With organizations such as CLSA and UCI coming together, she is optimistic that centers such as the Cove can act as a connector to all of the interests that make innovation possible. She is excited to engage with young people to help them see the possibility of careers in life sciences. By focusing on working collaboratively, she hopes that the concerted effort between life sciences and other stakeholders can become a model in other economic sectors.
The event concluded with comments from the Mayor of Irvine, Steven Choi. Observing best practices from Korea and Taiwan, he saw an opportunity to make Irvine a central hub for technology and entrepreneurship. With contributing effort from the Irvine Company and other organizations such as EvoNexus, the Vine was created to help entrepreneurs and startup companies. As a result, in 2015 alone, $836 Million in Venture Capital (VC) money has been invested in Irvine, representing 63% of all VC money invested in Orange County. He is happy to see that the Chancellor at UCI has supported developments such as the Cove and Applied Innovation to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Mayor Choi shared that a major goal is to keep the talent being fostered here by creating jobs and opportunities for them to stay. He concluded his remarks by sharing he was happy to attend this event by CLSA and to see the continuing collaboration and dialogue between industry and government.
To learn more about California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), visit: www.califesciences.org.
Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.