Every week we hear another story of a company, CEO, celebrity, or venture capitalist leaving California. What does this mean for the future of innovation in the state?

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Joe Rogan, 8VC venture capital, Palantir, the CEO of Splunk, almost every day brings another story of a prominent person or company leaving California. The reasons aren’t that varied, the big five — high taxes, housing costs for employees, wildfires, government mismanagement, and needles/homeless on the streets — dominate the causes listed for moving to other states. …


AAVs are the most common vector for delivering in vivo gene therapies, but accommodating growing demand will require manufacturing innovation.

Source: FDA

Gene Replacement vs. Gene Editing

Since its advent in the 90s, gene therapy has held promise as a way to defeat genetic diseases. Unlike CRISPR which edits the DNA, gene therapy keeps the existing DNA sequence in place, but replaces it with a healthy copy of the gene grown in vivo or ex vivo. For in vivo gene therapies, this sequence is typically delivered through an AAV (Adeno-Associated Virus) vector. …


Industry 4.0 is a global effort to bring the latest digital technologies to manufacturing facilities across industries. It is intended to reduce costs, improve quality, and a host of other “good” things. It grew out of European efforts in the early 2010s to update their factories, and is often referred to as “bioprocessing 4.0” within the biomanufacturing world. However, biotech manufacturers have been fairly slow to implement many of its technologies, and its benefits remain a little unclear.

One area bioprocessing 4.0 is showing promise within biologics production is process analytics. Collecting data during cycles, as opposed to just after…


Illustration © Alila07 | Dreamstime.com

Thanks to large gains in compute power, the costs to read DNA have dropped exponentially (23andme, Ancestry, etc are the result of this), but the costs to write DNA have only dropped linearly. However, there is a lot of work going on in DNA write technologies to address this.

Most synthetic DNA has been made the same way since the early 80s using a serial process known as Phosphoramidite Synthesis. This method requires attaching each base pair to the existing strand one at a time, and it limits synthetic DNA strands to about 100 base pairs in total length before…


Last week, the Census Bureau released its 2019 estimates for MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) population growth. Dallas/Ft. Worth remains America’s fastest growing numerically, having added 117,000 people between July 2018 and July 2019. But it no longer holds the lead in North America. Metro Toronto, which added 139,000 for the same period per Statistics Canada, is now growing faster than any U.S. Metro.

With cold weather and a smaller national population, Toronto can’t draw domestic migrants the way Dallas does. But it is unparalleled within North America for attracting immigrants. 105,000 people immigrated to the Toronto CMA (Census Metropolitan Area)…


If you could pick one geographic trait that defines the location of a large city, it might be the presence of a great river. This is often true in Europe, where London, Paris, and Rome all sit on some of the longest rivers within their respective countries. And while New York, St. Louis, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Philadelphia are located on long rivers, many larger American cities, including Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle, are not.

Boston is a particularly interesting case because of its age and history. While it has a great harbor, the Charles River on…


Most cities with famous musical histories, from Liverpool to Memphis to New Orleans, became known for a certain style due to artists that grew up nearby. Memphis was the blues capital of the 50s, and the birthplace of Rock n’Roll, in part because B.B. King, Muddy Waters, W.C. Handy and Elvis Presley all grew up nearby in Mississippi. Many of the leading Jazz musicians in New Orleans, like Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, were also from there. …


Nevada has one of the most unique urban histories in the country, especially considering that its largest city could have ended up in another state. The name Nevada comes from a Spanish term for “snowy place”. You might think that’s odd for a state with a large city in a desert, but when Congress cut Nevada out of Utah, the territory’s southern border ran along the 37th parallel right up to the California border, well north of where Las Vegas now sits.

What would become Las Vegas was part of the New Mexico Territory, and then the Arizona territory after…


People often point to air conditioning as a technology that enabled cities to develop in warm climates. But before air conditioning, another cooling technology played a major role in the development of both warm weather and remote cities.

Refrigerated boxcars, also known as “reefers”, grew out of the ice trade. One of the most unusual New England exports of the 19th century was ice. Enterprising Yankee businessmen had started the ice trade with the Carolinas and Caribbean to help preserve meat as it was transported. …

David Gross

Writing about urban economic history, regional economic development, and the bioeconomy. Blog at biotechonomics.com.

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