After Life Tech closed in San Diego, those who lost their jobs may stick around locally to start their own businesses. NBC 7's Chris Chan reports.
Industry leaders were optimistic despite a decision to close the headquarters of Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
Drugmaker Bristol-Meyers Squibb made the announcement earlier this month, saying all of Amylin's operations would be relocated to the company's sites by the end of 2014 and that San Diego facilities would be closed by early 2015.
Over 400 people work for Amylin in San Diego.
Industry leader Ivor Royston, M.D. of Forward Ventures was confident that these employees would find other employment and flourish.
"The people here are so skilled and highly trained that as long as we have new companies developing they will eventually land on their feet and find new jobs," he said.
Royston founded one of the first biotech companies in San Diego, Hybridtech in 1978.
When it was purchased by the major pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, he and others left to form new businesses.
"It spawned so many other conmpanies," said Royston."Nearly every manager and director went out and started another company."
Royston would go on to found other companies including Idec Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired and has become one of the larges BioPharma companies in the world.
He even become an investor, founding the venture capital firm Forward Ventures, funding numerous companies and reaping profits after their sale.
Concerns also turned to Life Technologies in Carlsbad which employs over 1,000 thousand people locally and announced this week that it will be sold to science services company Thermo Fisher.
"The acquiring company has said they intend to grow Life Technologies, and maintain it here in San Diego," said Joe Panetta, President and CEO of Biocom the life science industry group.
Panetta said the acquisition of companies is common in the industry, but the planned closures like that of Amylin's facilities are rare.
While leaders said the industry remains strong and continues to grow, the sale of successful compnaines leave San Diego with a standout global leader.
"We lose the ability for developing a large international global company headquartered in San Diego just like Qualcomm," said Royston, "We've not achieved the Qualcomm of Biotech in San Diego. We could have but our companies always get acquired.