U.S. Dept. of Commerce grant to fund lab space for bioscience startups at the University
The budding Los Angeles biosciences industry got a major boost from the federal government Wednesday with a $3.2 million grant to Cal State L.A.
The funds from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will be used to construct a new laboratory building at Cal State LA. But unlike academic laboratories, the Cal State L.A. biosciences incubator will provide laboratory space for startup scientific companies. That model has been successful in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in the United States, but not yet developed in Los Angeles.
Mayor Garcetti, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and federal officials have been eager to find ways to create high-paying jobs and develop new companies through the biosciences industry.
In July, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams visited Cal State LA with Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who has supported the University’s efforts to win the grant.
“We already have the talent in our communities – talent possessed by ambitious and creative workers," Solis said Wednesday. "By investing in facilities in our communities today, we give these skilled residents the space and support they need to maximize their potential and turn their ideas into jobs that will fuel long-term economic growth.”
Congressman Xavier Becerra also provided key support in Washington for the project. “I’m thrilled that Cal State L.A. is receiving this substantial investment to help entrepreneurs and create jobs in Los Angeles,” said Becerra, who represents communities served by the University. “Bioscience is a growing field and this incubator will give startups the tools to succeed. I’m proud to support these investments in my district that will spur our local economy and keep it competitive.”
Cal State LA is at the center of a regional effort to expand bioscience businesses in Los Angeles. Last year, Los Angeles County awarded the University $3 million to support a bioscience facility.
The incubator will provide laboratory space to private startup ventures to fuel their growth. Faculty and students at Cal State L.A. will collaborate with the companies to share expertise that will benefit the University and the private sector community.
“The incubator at our University is a win-win for business, education and our local community,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said. “Startups benefit from the knowledge of our faculty and students, students get a chance to apply their classroom work to actual businesses, and the companies created in the incubator will provide jobs in our region.”
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jose Gomez noted that Supervisor Solis and Congressman Becerra were instrumental in helping the University secure the federal assistance.
“They have been among our greatest allies,” Gomez said. “We look forward to working with them to leverage academic and research opportunities at Cal State LA and create jobs for the communities we serve.”
Williams and Solis are proponents of utilizing the bioscience industry to promote economic development and job creation. During their visit to Cal State LA, they were accompanied on a campus laboratory tour by President Covino. He discussed the University’s successful efforts to prepare students to excel in Ph.D. programs in STEM-related disciplines.
Williams and Solis met with Cal State LA students who are conducting research under the direction of professors Howard Xu and Cecilia Zurita Lopez.
Solis, a former U.S. secretary of labor whose 1st Supervisorial District includes the University, has said that Cal State L.A. plays an important role in educating researchers who will help the bioscience industry thrive in the area. A majority of Cal State L.A. students come from Solis' district.
“As secretary of labor my priority was job creation, and I am continuing that priority in the 1st District,” she said during her visit to the University.
Photos: Top, artist rendering of the proposed bioscience incubator at Cal State LA. Bottom, from left to right: Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, President William A. Covino and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams at a University laboratory (Credit: Cal State LA).
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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.
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