Advanced Industry Clusters


The Sacramento Region is home to a fast-growing biotechnology and life sciences community, with the world’s largest cluster of companies in these industry sectors headquartered in the adjacent San Francisco Bay Area. Many consider the San Francisco Bay Area to be the birthplace of biotechnology and it is currently home to several hundred biotechnology and life sciences companies.

The Sacramento Region is home to a fast-growing biotechnology and life sciences community, with the world’s largest cluster of companies in these industry sectors headquartered in the adjacent San Francisco Bay Area. Many consider the San Francisco Bay Area to be the birthplace of biotechnology and it is currently home to several hundred biotechnology and life sciences companies.

The Sacramento Region’s biotechnology and life sciences industries are growing rapidly with more than 100 biotechnology and medical device companies and 141,405 life sciences employees.

With an abundant and highly qualified workforce from world-class institutions and collaborative efforts that will finance and develop new biomedical facilities, the Sacramento Region offers the greatest and most flexible opportunities for further expansion of the industry. Companies such as Bayer CropScience and Novozymes Biotech, Inc. in Davis; Volcano Therapeutics and Thermogenisis Corp. in Rancho Cordova; and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics in West Sacramento are representative of the region’s biotechnology sector.

UC Davis

As one of the world’s premier life science research universities, UC Davis performs fundamental research in fields ranging from genetics and biology to agricultural and environmental sciences, and from food and nutrition to veterinary and human health. It is the educational core of the region’s life sciences sector and has connections with area biotechnology companies. The university increasingly acts as a magnet for life sciences firms looking for the unique combination of proximity to all of Northern California’s research institutions plus reasonable business costs and a high quality of life. This is a trend that will likely continue and increase in the near future as pharmaceutical and medical device companies turn ideas into products.

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has earned the prestigious “comprehensive” designation from the National Cancer Institute, making it the only cancer center in Sacramento and all of inland Northern California to have earned the designation. “Comprehensive” designation is the world’s most prestigious honor in oncology, reserved for less than 1 percent of cancer centers nationwide. National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers are recognized by the federal government for their scientific excellence, and are considered major sources for discovery and development of more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

UC Davis also hosts the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to UC Davis, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and other partners. Biophotonics is the science of using light to understand the inner workings of cells and tissues in living organisms, and the center collaborates with private and public research institutions on applications ranging from health care to biodefense.

The biotechnology industry’s combination of science and technology holds great potential for future growth and discovery. This pioneering industry has broad social and economic reach as a birthplace for products that will improve human health, meet energy and environmental needs, assist in national defense, and spur new innovation. The industry encompasses a wide range of firms, including many involved in research and development or manufacturing for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

UC Davis and UC Davis Health System Highlights

  • One of the world’s premier life sciences research institutions with biotechnology, medical, veterinary, and agricultural programs.
  • Centers of Excellence that encourage collaborative public/private research and ties with private industry.
  • UC Davis is among the top in the nation in graduate and undergraduate education in the biological sciences. Year after year, UC Davis is one of the top five in numbers of doctoral and bachelor degrees conferred in the biological sciences.
  • On the leading edge of new treatments and disease research at the nationally renowned center for the study of autism, the UC Davis MIND Institute, and the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.
  • UC Davis ranks 14th in research funding among U.S. ranked public universities and 22nd for public and private universities, according to the National Science Foundation. The university received more than $750 million in research funding in 2011-2012, and ranked fifth in the nation in the most recent NSF survey of non-federal research and development spending (2009).
  • UC Davis is a leader in regenerative medicine, with one of the most advanced Good Manufacturing Practice Laboratories in the nation. The lab is used by UC Davis and other major research institutions in California to process cellular and gene therapies for clinical trials.
  • As one of the country’s first Clinical and Translational Science Centers, UC Davis is a model for team science, bringing together multiple disciplines to address the most challenging health issues.
  • Ranked among the top medical schools in the nation for research, primary care and rural medicine specialty programs, and among top hospitals for cancer care according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools in America and Best Hospitals lists.
  • Inland California’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • UC Davis Health System is a leader in defining innovative uses of technology to transform health and health care. UC Davis provides expertise in more than two dozen clinical specialties using telehealth technology to reach patients and health-care providers throughout the state. The health system appeared on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the nation’s Most Connected Hospitals for adopting information technology to enhance patient safety and quality of care, and was one of only 11 institutions in California designated “Most Wired” by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. UC Davis Medical Center has reached the top 2 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of electronic medical records use with a Stage 7 award from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
  • Home to the California National Primate Research Center, the only one of its kind in the UC system and one of only eight such centers in the nation.

UC Davis Health System

The UC Davis Health System is one of five health systems within the University of California. It is an integrated, academic health system consisting of the UC Davis School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the 619-bed acute care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center, and the 1,000-member physician group known as UC Davis Medical Group. The health system also includes the National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a comprehensive children’s hospital, a Level I trauma center, and other centers of excellence. The UC Davis School of Medicine received $194 million in external research funding in fiscal year 2011-2012. The school ranks 37th in National Institutes of Health research funding, and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation’s top 50 medical schools for both primary care and research. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing welcomed its first doctoral and master’s degree students in fall 2010 and celebrated the graduation of its inaugural class in 2012.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the only public veterinary school in the state, was named the #1 veterinary school in the world. The university’s library contains more than 3.9 million volumes and is ranked among the top research libraries in North America. California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) The UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, which opened in 2010, is one of 12 “CIRM Institutes” conducting research in all three of the specialized research categories of basic and discovery stem cell research— preclinical (translational) research, preclinical development, and clinical research.

California State University, Sacramento

Sacramento State’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs and is a leader in California for the training of clinical lab technicians and scientists. At the undergraduate level, students are able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Science degree, or a minor in Biological Sciences. The curriculum in Clinical Laboratory Sciences meets the undergraduate coursework requirements of the State of California for eligibility to take a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) licensure examination. Eligibility to take a licensure examination also requires a one year CLS internship training program at a state-approved clinical laboratory, of which the Sacramento Region has several. In addition, the University has recently unveiled its cutting-edge molecular biology lab known as CIMERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Molecular Biology Education, Research and Advancement). The Center was created to play a lead role in both research and education in the burgeoning fields of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. It provides a geographic and intellectual center for interdisciplinary basic and applied research, for the training of undergraduate and graduate students, and for community-based educational programs.

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