March 28, 2016
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com
The life science industry in San Diego and Southern California is booming. According to the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the state is home to 2,848 life science companies ranging from global corporations to entrepreneurial start-ups—an increase of 212 over last year. Area biotech, pharma, medical device and diagnostics employers are hiring additional staff as a result, and many in the Biotech Beach hotbed will be attending BioSpace (DHX)’s spring Biotech Beach Talent Connect event to recruit qualified job seekers.
According to an economic impact report from Biocom, an industry trade association, life science companies employ more than 300,000 California professionals. CLSA data reveals 56,246 of these specialists work in Los Angeles County alone. Orange County (42,803) and San Diego County (38,061) are also significant life science employment clusters. Biotech employment within the region grew by 6.6 percent in 2015.
“The market is hot, and we do not anticipate it slowing down any time in the near future,” Chris Flora, corporate recruiter at Commissioning Agents, Inc., a professional technical services company, recently told BioSpace. Dustin Vaughn, manager of talent acquisition at NantKwest, Inc., a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, is equally optimistic about the region. “San Diego has a dynamic biotech industry that will play an important role in the overall vision of NantKwest and the Cancer MoonShot 2020 coalition,” he explains. “Our CEO, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong feels that ‘San Diego offers talented people, good infrastructure and good quality of life.’”
Company growth is one of the reasons organizations like NantKwest, Inc. attend Talent Connect events. “NantKwest is uniquely positioned to implement precision cancer medicine, with the potential to change the current paradigm of cancer care,” Vaughn says. “We are a growing company and seek to network with the biotech professionals in San Diego.”
“We have seen an increase in capital project work from our clients and a lack of resources in the market,” Flora adds. “Good talent makes all the difference in the world when delivering solutions to our clients, so we are evaluating all opportunities. Biotech Beach Talent Connect is a unique and efficient approach to connecting with top talent.”
Job seekers who want to meet and network with representatives from Commissioning Agents, Inc., Dynavax Technologies (DVAX), Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research, Inc., NantKwest, Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (SGMO) and other Biotech Beach life sciences employers can do so at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla on April 4 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Each organization will be conducting on-site in-depth private interviews with candidates as they recruit for multiple job openings. Pre-registration for the event is required along with submission of a resume for pre-screening.
Numerous opportunities are available for qualified job seekers. “We are looking to hire in multiple departments, including but not limited to, manufacturing/operations, research and development, quality and regulatory, CMC and project management,” says Vaughn. “At NantKwest, we seek life science professionals with both an interest and experience in immunotherapy. We look for skills in NK cell production, cell therapy processes, cell-based analytics, cell culturing, cell-based assay development, biologics manufacturing and cGMP regulations.”
According to Flora, Commissioning Agents, Inc. is specifically looking for “commissioning and qualification engineers, validation engineers and automation engineers with experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device or biotech industries.”