Think Global, Network Local

Based in Novato, Ultragenyx is a clinical-stage biotechnology company known for bringing to market treatments for rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. Company Chief Medical Officer Sunil Agarwal describes the winning formula that brings companies like Ultragenyx to the North Bay:

“While we are global with technology, a company’s physical location is critically important to success. You want to be around great academic institutions. That’s an important partnership to help draw on from an intellectual capacity and also from a human resources capacity. The physical environment in Novato is terrific—good weather, amenable lifestyle, beautiful countryside. It’s an ideal location when you put it together: academic institutions, physical environment and the talent pool.”

Sunil notes that existing companies are excited to see more businesses look to the North Bay as a potential home.

“It’s nice to get critical mass, when you start having more than one it makes a difference. We are getting critical mass in the North Bay. Once you start doing this, hopefully more and more will come. It helps every biotech company be successful. You can draw from each other in a positive way.”

From an HR perspective, clusters of successful companies send a clear message to potential new recruits. “I joined seven months ago and I have not had challenges recruiting, but I know in the early stages of the company it was difficult, partly because we were really small and higher risk. So it had a lot to do with risk tolerance that people had. That’s why critical mass matters, the more companies you get here, the more comfortable people are with relocating here.”