Vacaville Stepping Up Its Biotech Attraction and Retention Efforts

April 30 2020

Council approves Biotech and Advanced Manufacturing Attraction Initiatives

The Vacaville City Council on Tuesday approved a pair of major initiatives designed to allow the City implement a strategy to strengthen the local economy, create jobs and revenue and ultimately become the largest biotech hub in the world.

This multi-faceted strategy includes the retention of a biotechnology consultant and establishment of a new Director of Economic Development Services position to make an aggressive push to expand the City’s biotechnology and advanced manufacturing clusters.

Phase One of this proactive strategy was approved by the City Council at the February 25, 2020 meeting and included an in-depth analysis of these two industries, recommendations for new branding efforts and new unique zoning for Vacaville, a proposed marketing plan and new marketing materials and tools.

With Phase One complete, Phase Two’s tasks include setting up a non-profit organization; creating a life science advisory board comprised of local and regional industry leaders; establishing new zoning opportunities that promote life science uses and facilitates a streamlined approval process; hosting multiple familiarization tours with biotech real estate developers and brokers; and participating electronically at Bio International 2020 to promote and market Vacaville’s new strategy

“We want to find every possible avenue to facilitate biotech investment and generally be prepared to make Vacaville the place that biotech companies want to be, and need to be,” City Manager Aaron Busch said. ” Our city has the land, building space, infrastructure and skilled workforce that these industries require.”

A major step in this overall process is the approval of a contract with Matthew Gardner of Innovation Counselors, LLC for purposes of preparing Phase Two of the City’s Biotech Attraction Initiative.

"I'm extremely honored to be part of this process in Vacaville," Gardner said. "We're bringing the industry together in new ways and looking for solutions that deliver for citizens, industry, patients, and consumers."

Bob Burris, president and CEO of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, feels the hiring of Garner is a major step toward

“With its leadership position in biomanufacturing, Vacaville and Solano County are poised to support the national effort to build a stronger life science manufacturing base in the U.S.,” Burris said. “We are thrilled to have someone with the national stature of Matthew Gardner on board with the City to help guide our efforts.”

When Phase Two is complete, expected to be some time in the first quarter of 2021, the goal will be to install an infrastructure system capable of establishing and supporting Vacaville as a major life science industry leader.

"Vacaville has been a global leader in life sciences since Alza invested in the city in 1984,” Gardner said. “Now home to a deep biomanufacturing complex and talent base, the City sees numerous ways to grow from strength."

The initial focus will be on the biotechnology/medical device technology industry. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a renewed focus on manufacturing pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices in the U.S., something for which Vacaville is well positioned.

In the Advanced Manufacturing sector, Vacaville seeks to expand an existing industry with a focus on agriculture technologies, aerospace and transportation, food and beverage and robotics.

“The opportunity exists for Vacaville to take advantage of our unique position in these two sectors,” Vacaville Mayor Ron Rowlett said. “I feel we now have the team, knowledge and experience in place to make this happen. We’re poised to be a world leader, and we’re anxious to get started.”

For more information, please visit the City’s website at or