San Francisco makes strides as hub for biotech

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

(Photo Credit: Michael Kappel)

San Francisco is rolling out the welcome mat–this time to bioscience entrepreneurs–with a new biotech incubator.

California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (Q3) is developing the incubator, called QB3@953, to help advance its work to support life science companies and create jobs in California by giving startups keys to success: efficiency and networking.

“QB3@953 marks the sixth life sciences incubator in San Francisco and secures the City’s place as a premier hub for entrepreneurs and innovation,” said San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee. “QB3@953 will keep small biotech companies here in the Innovation Capital of the World by providing critically needed space to start, stay and grow-creating jobs while driving innovative science and health discoveries.”

QB3@953 will give lab space and office space for up to 30 start-up companies focused on life-sciences. Those startups will have access to QB3’s business resources including legal team and business advisors, help in grant writing for federal Small Business Innovation Research funds, and paid access to high-end equipment and technology at various facilities at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

“The two things bioscience entrepreneurs seem to value most are proximity to other scientists and the ability to start up on a credit card,” said Doug Crawford, PhD Associate Director of QB3. “We’re enabling small life science companies to start very efficiently, near other entrepreneurs at UCSF.”

“In addition to great lab resources, one of the great things about working in the QB3 incubator is that it is an open lab environment–it is really a nexus of innovation,” said Robert Blazej, CEO, Allopartis, which started in the QB3 Garage in Mission Bay. “We collaborate with the other companies, we talk constantly, and it’s really helpful to have that collaborative research environment–especially when you are trying to pull off the impossible.”

QB3 celebrated its six-year mark last year. In that time, the company helped launch 60 new bioscience companies. Those companies created more than 280 jobs while attracting $226 million in follow-on funding. The new QB3@953 will open its doors by September 1.

A huge economic boost for San Francisco, whose unemployment rate in May, was 5.4 percent.

Five other incubators in the city are trying to put the city by the Bay on the map for life sciences. They include:  FibroGen’s Mission Bay Innovation Center, Bayer CoLaborator, QB3 at UCSF, Bioscience Laboratories, and Celgene Incubator.

Efforts like QB3@953 are just the sort of collaborations that the California Economic Summit is encouraging through its innovation and access to capital Signature Initiatives. It’s the goal of the Summit for business to work even more with universities, local governments, and regional innovation partnerships to help start and grow businesses and ultimately create and keep jobs here in California.


Cheryl Getuiza

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