Business Spotlight Series: Biotech

March 22, 2023 8:20 AM
by Jennifer Taylor

From the bustling hospitality and tourism industries to the technology and innovation startups that contribute to the city’s nickname of "Silicon Beach," Santa Monica has a vibrant and diversified local economy. The Business Spotlight Series will take a comprehensive look at some of the businesses and employers contributing to the City’s top industries.

Healthcare, including biotechnology, remains one of Santa Monica’s leading economic sectors, employing 9,400 workers (12% of the city’s total employment) with an average quarterly payroll of $142.8 million. With its proximity to top tier universities and research hospitals combined with the talent and resources of the city’s technology and creative industries, Santa Monica is a premier destination for biotech companies looking to rapidly scale through innovation or operate clinical trials.

Santa Monica is also training future generations of biotech pioneers, with many local businesses offering internships, training programs, and mentorship opportunities. Recently, Santa Monica College (SMC) received a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation for a new equity-centered biotechnology career education program anticipated to launch in fall 2023.

“This new program will create a direct industry pipeline for our deserving students who will be trained in cutting-edge cell science and immunoassay technologies,” SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery stated in a press release. Consisting of two stackable certificates and an associate degree, the brand-new program is designed to meet the growing industry demand for cancer-fighting scientists.

Here is a look at three dynamic companies shaping Santa Monica’s cutting-edge biotech industry and global healthcare landscape.

Founded in 2015, Quantgene’s mission is to extend the healthy human lifespan by a decade, detecting cancer and other diseases early. With more than 30 Santa Monica employees and a global network of 150, Quantgene has been developing a form of genomic testing known as liquid biopsy that analyzes genetic mutations in blood samples to detect signals of cancer before symptoms occur. This unique combination of vertically integrated technology and medical intelligence convert extremely complex data into accessible reports for physicians and members.

The company has several products and services, including PanProtect, which started with COVID-19 testing for entertainment productions, state and local government, education providers, and individuals, and now provides full-service occupational health services nationwide. Quantgene also has a healthcare membership service called Serenity, which focuses on preventative medicine. As part of Serenity, the company asks users to answer 20 questions on its digital platform, 20Q, and then suggests preventative screenings and identifies potential gaps in care based on the responses. Quantgene will launch one of 20Q’s first at-scale pilots in Santa Monica.

Quantgene also currently runs clinical trials in oncology with key local partners, including City of Hope, and continues to seek talented innovators and builders with an entrepreneurial spirit to join the biotech company in Santa Monica through its recruitment funnel For more information and opportunities, visit

Kite, a Gilead Company
Founded in Santa Monica in 2009 and acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2017, Kite is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on cell therapy to treat and potentially cure cancer. With its industry-leading CAR T-cell therapy technology, Kite is the only company dedicated exclusively to research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of cell therapy on a global scale.

More than 1,000 employees work in Santa Monica at two of Kite’s locations: the company’s global headquarters and a clinical research, development, and manufacturing center. Kite chose Santa Monica for this base of operations due to its proximity to top tier universities and research hospitals, which jumpstarted the company’s clinical trials and attracted cancer treatment centers authorized to dispense Kite’s CAR T therapies. Kite is an originating sponsor of the Los Angeles Bioscience Ecosystem Summit (LABEST) and (through its parent company Gilead) is a member of Biocom California.

Kite continues to seek and train bioscience talent throughout the state with an established internship program, relationships with community colleges and universities, and a two-year Technical Operations rotation program providing career development across various business functions. For more information and opportunities visit

As a global clinical-stage biotechnology company, Neogene Therapeutics is a pioneer in the discovery, development, and manufacturing of next-generation engineered T cell receptor therapies (TCR-Ts), targeting a broad spectrum of solid cancers.

From leading universities and hospitals to a high concentration of innovative healthcare companies, Southern California — and Santa Monica in particular — has emerged as a leading hub for cell therapy development over the last decade capable of providing companies such as Neogene a vibrant concentration of expertise in cell therapy and a strong base for talent. World-class facilities available in the city have also enabled Neogene to continue its rapid growth in its specialized area of oncology and T cell therapy innovation.

Industry mentorship remains a cornerstone of Neogene, with internship positions available to provide experience to young scientists. The company also consistently looks for ways to support and engage with the Santa Monica community, previously partnering with a local nonprofit to assemble hospital care kits for patients and families in long-term care facilities and this year hosting a food drive for the Westside Food Bank. For more information and opportunities visit

The Greater Los Angeles area is home to more than 1,000 life science innovation companies, with upwards of 16,000 technical jobs anticipated to be added over the next three years. Continued growth and expanded opportunities within the sector ensure a bright future for the field of life sciences in Santa Monica and the region at large. For more information about the Business Climate in Santa Monica, visit

Past Business Spotlight Series blog posts:  

Santa Monica Hotels: Updates, Additions, and Re-Openings

Authored By

Jennifer Taylor
Economic Development Manager