Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ventura County -- a new Biotech Beach?

The most common subject brought up in regards to the recent layoffs and "early retirements" at Amgen is biotech start up companies. The amount of experience that walked out the door this month is enormous: 3,500 years (at minimum) in the volunteer pool alone. Among the couple hundred research scientists that left, the average Amgen experience was 18.1 years. On the low end in one department, the average was 12.7 years. So where is all that experience going to land? Most people I've talked to say in new companies all along the 101 corridor, from Thousand Oaks up to Carpinteria -- a Ventura County-centered biotech "Silicon Valley", if you like that analogy, though "Biotech Beach" would be more accurate. There are already some analytical and formulation companies in the area around CSUCI, started by Amgen employees who left years back. But the current talk around the campus is that many more companies will spring up -- and I think they are right -- I know several people who have already met with venture capital investors.

And the timing is perfect for anyone interested in "bio-similars" -- generic biotech drugs. Amgen's first 2 drugs, Epogen and Neupogen, will be going off patent soon, and who better to produce generic versions of these two blockbusters, but the very scientists who developed them in the first place?

No comments: