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With change in the air after a long, hard-fought presidential campaign, we’ve received lots of questions of what the implications of the new Obama presidential administration are for the biotech and medical device community, which is the largest technology cluster in San Diego.

The San Diego Union-Tribune did a good job Sunday of summarizing how different technology clusters in San Diego expect to be impacted by the change in administration, including info from BIOCOM.

Basically, there are two main issues that people in the life sciences are talking about and have their eyes on now.

First off, the industry and research community are very excited to have a president who actively supports science, and is expected to rescind President Bush’s federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, especially after this Wall Street Journal interview with incoming Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Stem cell research is a major area of study for the big-four research institutions on Torrey Pines, UCSD, Scripps, Salk and Burnham which are working together to build the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. California, of course, side-stepped these federal restrictions back in 2004 when the state’s voters overwhelmingly backed Proposition 71 so the state could invest $3 billion into embryonic stem cell research. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a link from that earlier election year, when The New Yorker magazine parachuted a Manolo Blahnik-clad reporter into San Diego to cover the interesting origins and background of Proposition 71, which subsequently created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

The other big question mark for the industry is who will lead the Food and Drug Administration, the agency that is responsible for ensuring the safety, and effectiveness, of the nation’s food and drug supply. Here’s a story from Scientific American looking at some of the rumored commissioners and leaders and here’s a blog item from the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s biotech reporter that has some advice on what to watch for.

— TIM INGERSOLL

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