Increasingly, researchers and business professionals are finding that industry clusters (or business clusters) can be just as powerful as internal resources in setting up companies for success. Initiatives such as the US Cluster Mapping Project attempt to quantify the benefits of these groupings, which fosters idea generation, economic development, and innovation infrastructure.
Few regions exemplify this effect more clearly than the extensive community of thriving life sciences and biotech companies near the Rady School of Management. A major driver of the innovation economy with more than 600 biotechnology and life sciences organizations and more than 80 research institutions, San Diego offers a perfect setting for business-minded individuals to develop meaningful research into successful commercialized offerings.
A quick survey of the Rady School’s immediate surroundings provides a glimpse into the rich environs to which our business students are exposed. The Salk Institute and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine share a world-class stretch of California coastline, directly across the street from the Rady School’s campus. Circumscribing UC San Diego by just a few miles are vanguard companies Illumina, Nuvasive, and Sequenom. Promising local start-ups, incubators, angel investors and venture capital firms complete the dynamic discovery environment that makes the La Jolla biotech community so unique.
Given the density of knowledge in the area, it is little surprise that Rady alumni have already made and continue to make significant contributions to the life sciences and startup space. Examples include:
MicroStem and its revolutionary printing technology were first ideated by Rady School alumni with combined experiences at the UC San Diego Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility, Agilent, and Johnson & Johnson as a group project for the Rady School’s signature course series and capstone, Lab to Market.
Curtana Pharmaceuticals, founded by Rady School alum Gregory Stein, is developing cutting-edge therapeutics for malignant brain tumors.
Alum Ashley Van Zeeland co-founded and serves as CEO for Cypher Genomics, the leading genome informatics company, which spun out of technology developed during her time at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and the business model she developed during the Rady School’s Lab to Market courses.
Progress by these and other Rady alumni will continue to develop with time, as information sharing between the business and science communities in San Diego becomes even more intertwined. Since the Rady School’s inception 11 years ago, students and alumni have established 87 startups and counting. In 2014, Rady School alumni business acumen alone resulted in a 2 Billion impact on the California and local economy.
Interested in learning more about how the Rady School supports student and alumni life science and startup ventures? Download our exclusive student and alumni Rady School MBA insights eBook.
Christina Littler (’15) is a second year MBA student at the Rady School. A native San Diegan, Christina has spent her career working in clinical trial development and growth strategy with early-stage biotechnology companies.