Sponsored: New study finds Bayer’s proposed expansion expected to bring significant economic boost to Berkeley

The biotech company plans to add 1 million square feet over the next 30 years, nearly doubling its financial contributions to Berkeley.

Bayer’s Berkeley campus manufactures hemophilia medicines for use around the world. Credit: Bayer

This story is brought to you by Bayer Berkeley.

When Jeff Bellisario lived in Berkeley, he would ride his bike past Bayer’s 46-acre biopharmaceutical campus and think about what kind of work was going on in all those buildings behind the fence. 

With just over 1,000 employees, Bayer is the largest private-sector employer in Berkeley and a key employer in the East Bay region. The view from a bicycle, Bellisario said, gives you a sense of the company’s size, particularly compared to many of the smaller retail and mixed-use properties in the city. Yet, it wasn’t until he and his team at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute conducted an economic impact analysis on behalf of Bayer that the company’s full impact on the region became clear.

“You hear ‘Bayer’ — most people around the world immediately associate it with aspirin, or here in the Bay Area with biotech,” said Bellisario, who serves as the Economic Institute’s executive director. “But when you break it down to an individual location, it is far more than its products —  it is an economic engine for the local and regional economies.”

Today Bayer creates an annual economic impact of nearly $15 million in Berkeley, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute study found. With about 70% of its employees living in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the East Bay sees $222 million in economic activity, and when you look across the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area that total leaps to more than $353 million per year, according to the Institute’s report. This reflects direct, indirect and induced spending by Bayer, its vendors/suppliers and employees. The company’s Berkeley operations currently support 2,221 full-time-equivalent jobs in the region, including the approximately 1,000 workers employed at the Berkeley campus. 

Bayer contributes $15 million per year to the Berkeley economy, and expects to nearly double that by 2052. Credit: Bayer

As a manufacturer, the company is poised to play an important role in the region’s economic recovery, Bellisario said.

“Manufacturing is one of the sectors where there may be a lower barrier to entry compared to other types of jobs, but it still provides a family-sustaining wage and allows a worker to potentially move up within an organization,” he said. “It provides additional jobs at the wage levels we, as a region in the Bay Area, are trying to grow, coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Bayer is in the process of transforming its West Berkeley site, which manufactures hemophilia medicines for use in more than 50 countries. The company plans to add more development labs and clinical and commercial manufacturing space for specialized therapies for cancer, cardiovascular and Parkinson’s disease and more. The proposed extension to its 30-year development agreement with the city of Berkeley is currently under review. The company plans to add nearly 1 million square feet to its facilities by 2052. That means more local construction jobs as well as new full-time positions with Bayer. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute forecasts the company will have a $29.1 million annual economic impact for the city of Berkeley by 2052, a 97% increase over 2020.

“In our region, we’ve had companies announce moves to Texas over the past 12 months,” Bellisario said. “To have a company going in the opposite direction and saying, ‘We want to double-down on our investment in the region. We see value in the talent profile, the location and our ability to do business and innovate out of Berkeley,’ — that’s a good signal to the rest of our region.”

In addition to the impact of jobs and Bayer’s spending in the region, the report also highlights Bayer’s engagement with the community. The company contributed an average of $1.3 million annually from 2017 to 2019 to various community efforts, through sponsorships, site donations and community benefits, to groups such as the Berkeley Food Network and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund.

Other report findings include:

  • For every 10 Bay Area residents who work for Bayer, 12 additional jobs are supported in the region.
  • Of the $84 million in 2019 capital expenditures for Bayer in Berkeley, approximately 23%, or $19.5 million, was spent with Bay Area firms — a large amount given the highly specialized equipment the company’s processes require.
  • Bayer spent an average of $41.4 million with Bay Area suppliers and vendors in 2019 and 2020, directly supporting 238 jobs in the region and 142 more jobs indirectly.

To learn more about Bayer in Berkeley and their plans for the future, visit www.bayer.com/berkeley.

​​This story is written and sponsored by Bayer Berkeley. Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In the Bay Area, Bayer’s Pharmaceutical division has operations in San Francisco, home of its Open Innovation Center — North America West, and Berkeley.