In April 2010, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Gloria Molina, announcing the launch of a “biotechnology incubator” pilot project, stated, “each year, the county loses many great biotech entrepreneurs and future businesses because we simply do not have the space, the expertise, or the capacity to nurture and grow these businesses”. A year later (May 2011), the California Assembly’s Select Committee on Biotechnology hosted a hearing on strategies to foster and commercialize translational research and medicine in Los Angeles. Integrating and adapting insights from the literature on “brand states”, the triple-helix (universityindustry- government relations), and upstream/downstream public consultation, this paper considers why and how the quintessential modernist metropolis plans to become a global biotechnology hub. Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, the paper asks: 1) what genomic future(s) does Los Angeles want to create; 2) how – or is – the public being brought into the dialogue about LA’s future; 3) what roadblocks inhibit effective public consultation; and 4) what, if anything, makes LA’s public consultation model distinct vis-à-vis other “biopolis” initiatives in cities such as Singapore, Quebec, and Dresden? The case study concludes by reflecting on the (early) policy lessons to be drawn from LA’s attempt to advance private and public, economic and social, revitalization via intense investment in the medical biotechnology sector.

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From metropolis to biopolis
Incubating the biotechnological future in Los Angeles

Amy L. Fletcher   The University of Canterbury

In April 2010, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Gloria Molina, announcing the launch of a “biotechnology incubator” pilot project, stated, “each year, the county loses many great biotech entrepreneurs and future businesses because we simply do not have the space, the expertise, or the capacity to nurture and grow these businesses”. A year later (May 2011), the California Assembly’s Select Committee on Biotechnology hosted a hearing on strategies to foster and commercialize translational research and medicine in Los Angeles. Integrating and adapting insights from the literature on “brand states”, the triple-helix (universityindustry- government relations), and upstream/downstream public consultation, this paper considers why and how the quintessential modernist metropolis plans to become a global biotechnology hub. Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, the paper asks: 1) what genomic future(s) does Los Angeles want to create; 2) how – or is – the public being brought into the dialogue about LA’s future; 3) what roadblocks inhibit effective public consultation; and 4) what, if anything, makes LA’s public consultation model distinct vis-à-vis other “biopolis” initiatives in cities such as Singapore, Quebec, and Dresden? The case study concludes by reflecting on the (early) policy lessons to be drawn from LA’s attempt to advance private and public, economic and social, revitalization via intense investment in the medical biotechnology sector.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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