Behind that number are marquee biotech drug makers such as Genentech, Amgen, and Gilead, but the greatest promise (and profits) may lie just where Larry Ellison predicted: in human cells.
With advances in stem cell research making headlines every day, scientists envision a time when you can be your own organ donor. "You can take a skin cell, possibly from a patient, turn that into a stem cell line, use that to make, say, liver cells, and then be able to transfer those back into that same patient without having to worry about an immune response or rejection," says Dr. Arnold Kriegstein.
The controversy over stem cell research has long been an obstacle to success but with $3 billion in state funding and a champion in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California is far ahead in the race to succeed in this hot young industry.
Biotech is the most exciting business in the valley today - and now it has leapt from the lab to the living room.23andme.compromises to give you access to your own genetic blueprint - information that could one day lead to new drugs and other discoveries.
And it's not just another start-up: its co-founder is married to Sergey Brin, whose little search engine, Google, is an investor in the project. Founded on the building blocks of technology, Silicon Valley's new mission is the building blocks of life.
Pete Najarian recommends keeping an eye on Myriad Genetics (MYGN) and Cepheid (CPHD).