San Diego’s life sciences sector struggles for financial security

LA JOLLA, Calif. — About a half century ago, a barren ocean bluff here started sprouting research institutions, turning a backwater Navy town into a much-envied icon of high-tech jobs and biomedical discoveries.

But after years of plunging federal grants and nagging national economic difficulties, the independent institutes on Torrey Pines Mesa are at a crossroads. Some are being forced to consolidate or merge with larger organizations to survive. Others are placing risky bets on drug discovery work-for-hire.

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