Campus: CSU Hayward -- October 27, 2004
Cal State Hayward Symposium Launches East Bay Biotech Center
The East Bay Biotechnology Center was launched Friday with a California State
University, Hayward symposium that brought educators, industry leaders and
government officials together to promote work force training in this fast-growing
Cal State Hayward and Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, co-hosted the
daylong meeting titled "Building Momentum for Biotechnology in the Bay Area." The
purpose of the event was to foster collaboration between biotech companies and
university leaders who will be designing programs and research aimed at job
training. The East Bay Biotechnology Center will be housed at the Cal State Hayward
campus and operated in partnership with local community colleges and other California
State Universities, most likely San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno.
As chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology, Corbett has long
supported establishing a biotech center in the East Bay.
"I consistently heard first hand from bio-science leaders regarding the critical
importance of having a trained work force for this emerging industry, which offers
both life-saving innovations and prosperity," Corbett said.
Corbett carried legislation, Assembly Bill 1885, to create the center at Cal State
Hayward, which a California State University systemwide initiative had already
designated as the location for a Northern California biotech center. Centers
already have been established at California State University, Los Angeles and San
Diego State University. The state university system is seeking $6 million in
federal grants to fund the three centers. No state funds would be used. Gov.
Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, but the CSUH project is moving forward.
"Cal State Hayward is fully committed to making the biotechnology center work in
conjunction with out sister institutions," CSUH President Norma Rees said at the
Matt Gardner, president of BayBio, an industry trade group, pledged his
organization's support for the center Friday.
Sunne Wright McPeak, secretary of the state Business, Transportation and Housing
Agency, and Victoria Bradshaw, secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development
Agency, praised Cal State Hayward for its "trailblazing" effort to promote
"As you and your colleagues well understand, the biotechnology life sciences
industry cluster gives California an economic comparative advantage," they wrote
in a letter to President Rees. "It is a key driver for growing California's economy
and generating jobs."
Biotech executives, scientists and educators who attended the symposium agreed that
today's evolving life science industry needs workers with more field and laboratory
experience. Strategies to enhance the hands-on aspect of biotech education include
creating more internships with Bay Area companies, lecture opportunities for
biotech scientists and an industry advisory board to give input on curriculum
Industry leaders who spoke at the symposium included Robert Sakai, technology and
trade director for the Economic Development Alliance for Business; Ralph Snodgrass,
president and CEO of Vistagen; Brian Lavan, principal scientist of Metabolex; Allen
Harman, director of operation of Baxter Bioscience; Jim Cornett, vice president
of business development for Medarex; Pat McKay, scientist at Genentech; and Ravi
Mistry, director of DiscoverRx.
Michael Leung, dean of the CSUH College of Science, also spoke. Cal State Hayward
already has a biotechnology certificate program that has placed more than 220
graduates in private, government and academic laboratories. Since it opened in
1986, the program has added two options. The bioinformatics program, taught in
the evening, combines computer science with biological science disciplines. The
regulatory affairs program, taught online in conjunction with San Diego State
University, has application in the fields of pharmaceutical and medical device
development and approval.
California has more than 2,500 biotechnology companies that generate $14.3
billion in annual revenue.
Media Contact: Donna Hemmila, Associate Dir. of Public Affairs,