Joe Panetta
President and CEO
An executive officer from a Commercial Life Science Entity
Appointed by Governor

Joseph Panetta is President & CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of BIOCOM, the California association that advocates for 900 companies, service sector firms, universities and research institutes working in the biotechnology and biomedical device arena. As President and CEO since 1999, Mr. Panetta has been responsible for leading BIOCOM’s efforts to position the regional life science community to achieve global success.  Working with an experienced professional staff of 50 and a 60 member Board of Directors, he leads programs in capital formation, public policy, workforce education, and member-to-member services. He also oversees several subsidiaries of BIOCOM, including a Purchasing Group which provides more than $100 million in products and services to members, and is a co-founder of the BIOCOM Political Action Committee, the BIOCOM Institute for education and workforce development, and the California Biotechnology Foundation, a joint initiative to inform legislators and the media about the life science industry in the state, of which he is Chairman.

Mr. Panetta is active on various boards, business coalitions and committees addressing issues pertinent to the life science industry. In January, 2014 Mr. Panetta was appointed by CA Gov. Jerry Brown to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee which serves as the governing and oversight Board for the CA Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and is responsible for providing grant funding under the $3 billion CA stem cell initiative. He is a past chairman of the board of the San Diego Workforce Partnership and sits on the boards of directors of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and CONNECT. He is a member of advisory boards of the pharmacy school at UC San Diego, the engineering school at San Diego State University, and the college of science and mathematics at Cal State University San Marcos.

He is a former Board member of and current advisor to eStudySite, a clinical studies firm, and a current Board Member of Genlantis, a San Diego based therapeutics. His civic involvement includes past service on the San Diego Public Utilities Advisory Commission which advises the mayor and city council on water related issues. He has served on the American Heart Association San Diego advisory council and currently serves on the American Cancer Society San Diego advisory council. 

He has advised the National Academy of the Sciences on biotechnology safety issues, has been a delegate to the Global Consultation on Safety in Biotechnology under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Program, and he was a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness’ Mexico-U.S. Biotechnology advisory board. He has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress and the California legislature on issues regarding biotechnology policy, regulatory affairs and international trade, and regularly travels to Washington, DC to discuss biotechnology related issues with members of Congress and executive branch leadership.

Mr. Panetta has been actively involved in the health sciences and government arenas for more than 25 years, having begun his professional career in 1979 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. where he became the youngest senior policy analyst at the agency during the Reagan Administration. While at the EPA he worked with Administrators Anne Gorsuch and William Ruckleshaus to develop the agency’s first strategic plans and goals, and he participated in the implementation of newly passed legislation to oversee the safe use toxic substances. 

In 1984 Mr. Panetta joined Pennwalt Corporation, a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and chemical company, where he led a global regulatory affairs program, and was actively involved in new business acquisition. In 1988 he came to San Diego to join Mycogen Corporation, one of the first NASDAQ listed biotechnology firms, where he played a principal role in obtaining U.S. and worldwide regulatory approvals of the first genetically engineered microbes and crops. Mr. Panetta served as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Mycogen during a period when the company grew to over 600 employees and had sales of $250 million, with several international offices. His global responsibilities included serving as Chairman of Mycogen Mexico and as a board member of Mycogen France. After participating in the divestiture of Mycogen to The Dow Chemical Company in 1998, he served briefly as Global Leader of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Plant Sciences Division of Dow AgroSciences before taking the helm at BIOCOM.

In addition to his work as President and CEO of BIOCOM Mr. Panetta’s association involvement has included serving as founding member of the International Biotechnology Forum under the auspices of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). He has served as Chairman of the BIO Council of State Bioscience Associations, an organization that coordinates joint efforts of more than 50 regional biotechnology associations nationwide in addressing state and national policy issues and in identifying and adopting best management practices. Mr. Panetta has been recognized for his advocacy work by the American Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. He received the 2008 distinguished contribution award for life science innovation from CONNECT. He also received the 2016 Annual Leadership Award from the Union of Pan Asian Communities.  

Mr. Panetta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He has completed the Brookings Institution program in government policy and the Harvard program in negotiation. He resides in San Diego with his wife Karin, and has two grown children.  He enjoys participating in outdoor sports including skiing and cycling, reading books on history and science, and playing the piano.