It’s a huge announcement which could light a new fire under Ventura County’s sagging economy.
A Conejo Valley based venture capital firm, Westlake Village BioPartners, announced the creation of two new funds which will potentially invest up to $500 million dollars in the biotech field.
It would support efforts to develop breakthrough treatments for health issues like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
The funding could possible add thousands of well paid jobs to the community:
Thousand Oaks City Manager Andrew Powers says with the pandemic, interest has never been higher in the field.
Amgen is a global leader in the field, and locally employs more than 8,000 people. There are other major life sciences companies in the Conejo Valley, like Atara and Takada. Powers says the idea is the fund will help with innovative startups in the field.
The hope is that many of the startups, or young companies will be based in the Conejo Valley, because it is already a hotbed of similar activity.
A Ventura County based economist calls the announcement is a huge Christmas gift for the county. Matthew Fienup is Executive Director of California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting.
He says biotech employment in the county peaked in 2007, and the loss of jobs directly links to new data showing that it fueled an economic slump since then.
Biotech jobs are the best paid category of employment in Ventura County. Economists say a boost in the field will fan out to help other parts of the community, from home sales to restaurants and retailers.