Earlier this year, the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) launched, becoming the first statewide policy and advocacy group for biotech. The new nonprofit, a merger between BayBio and the California Healthcare Institute, is led by CEO Sara Radcliffe, former Executive VP of Health at the international Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington.
Sara steps into this new role at a time when biotech is booming in the state and in the nation. Yet she will face some difficult challenges ahead: drug prices are going through the stratosphere, drawing increasing ire from the general public and state and national goverments while diagnostic test makers see their often patchy reimbursement being further reduced. Facing a new statewide ballot initiative that aims to fix drug pricing and an upcoming drug cost transparency bill scheduled for the next legislative session, how will Sara defend CLSA members, such as Gilead and Celgene, who are charging ever higher drug prices? And what will she do for a promising yet underpaid diagnostics industry?
Welcome to California, Sara. How does she like the Bay Area so far? “It’s a much more laid back environment,” she says at the end of the interview. "Washington can be quite a staid environment. So I’m enjoying the entrepreneurial atmosphere."