The San Diego region has slipped a couple spots in a Milken Institute survey of life sciences clusters in 11 major U.S. metropolitan areas. The region ranked eighth in the nation in the 2009 survey, two spots down from 2005, the last time Milken compiled the rankings.

Boston again topped the list, with Philadelphia jumping ahead of San Francisco for the second spot. The other metropolitan areas ahead of San Diego were New York, Raleigh-Durham, Los Angeles and Chicago. Rounding out the list were Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and Seattle.

In their analysis of San Diego, the authors of the survey credited the region for having a “rich environment for entrepreneurial ventures,” and commented on its healthy mix of research institutions and small companies. But San Diego finished dead last in “innovation output,” or how effective a region’s companies and research organizations are at getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for new drugs and medical devices, and how well inventions are patented and commercialized.

Both the 2005 and 2009 surveys were commissioned by a consortium of industry organizations located in and around greater Philadelphia. It is being released today in Atlanta at BIO, the life sciences industry’s largest annual convention.

DAVID WASHBURN

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