Monday, August 08, 2005

SACTO & Solano EDC work together to lure biotechs

Article Launched: 08/07/2005 07:41:27 AM

Agencies combine to lure biotechs

By Megan Lloyd-Jones/Reporter Intern

The Solano Economic Development Corp. officially is joining forces with the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, sharing marketing clout to entice the booming biotechnology industry to the region.

The two agencies recently combined their strengths in the life sciences, publishing a new marketing brochure, "Experience Biological Sciences in California's Biotech Capital."

Bob Burris, deputy director of SACTO, said the partnership sprang from the two nonprofit organizations pulling resources together to represent Northern California in the BIO 2005 conference, held in Philadelphia in early June.

"With similar economies, both a gateway to the Bay Area and both having growing biotech industries, it was naturally fitting to work with them officially," Burris said.

Solano EDC President Mike Ammann said that while Solano County's biotech companies are officially part of the Bay Area, the proximity of UC Davis to Solano makes it difficult to define where to draw the line.

Instead of working against adjacent counties, Ammann said keeping close relationships with them helps to entice more biotech corporations to the area. When the biotech industry sees companies succeeding in Northern California, it will encourage others to locate to the general area, Ammann said.

"We need to have good, working relationships with bordering regions and partners,"Ammann said.

Both Ammann and Burris agreed that it is still important to remain competitive, but that there are enough differences between the regions to set them apart.

Solano has more biotech companies specializing in manufacturing of therapeutics, said Ammann, with Johnson and Johnson and Genentech in Vacaville, Bio-Rad in Vallejo and Cardinal Health Inc. in Dixon. Ammann said the Sacramento area is more geared toward producing medical devices such as companies like Hewlett Packard Co. and Intel.

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