The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) is a nonprofit research and technology commercialization institute spanning three University of California campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area: UC Berkeley, UCSF, and UC Santa Cruz. QB3's domain is the quantitative biosciences: areas of biology in which advances are chiefly made by scientists applying techniques from physics, chemistry, engineering, and computer science.
5 Campus sites,
7 External links,
QB3 was founded in 2000 as one of four Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation (originally, California Institutes for Science and Innovation, or "Cal ISIs"). From a 2005 article written for the University of California Systemwide Senate:
The Institutes were launched in 2000 as an ambitious statewide initiative to support research in fields that were recognized as critical to the economic growth of the state--biomedicine, bioengineering, nanosystems, telecommunications and information technology. Moreover, the Cal ISIs were conceived as a catalytic partnership between university research interests and private industry that could expand the state economy into new industries and markets and "speed the movement of innovation from the laboratory into peoples' daily lives" (Governor's Budget summary 2001-02). The four research centers operate as a partnership among the University, state government, and industry, and each involves structured collaborations among campuses, disciplines, academics researchers, research professional, and students.
QB3 is directed by Regis B. Kelly, a neuroscientist formerly executive vice-chancellor at UCSF from 2001 to 2004. Kelly's office is in the central QB3 office suite at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. On each UC campus, QB3 is led by a campus director, who is an active research scientist: at UC Berkeley, Susan Marqusee; at UCSF, Nevan Krogan; at UC Santa Cruz, David Haussler.
Research faculty are the foundation of QB3. QB3 currently has about 240 faculty members: about 100 from UC Berkeley, 85 from UCSF, and 55 from UC Santa Cruz. The research interests of these faculty fall under the umbrella of the quantitative biosciences. QB3 scientists tend to be bioengineers, biophysicists, or pharmaceutical or computational biologists. Synthetic biology is strongly represented. Members of QB3 include Shuvo Roy, Elizabeth Blackburn, Steven Chu, Joseph DeRisi, David Haussler, Jay Keasling, Arun Majumdar, and Harry Noller.
QB3 member scientists choose affiliations with one of nine research themes:
Biological Imaging: visualizing biological systems at all scales: atoms, cells, organs,
Biomaterials & Stem Cells: Development of biomaterials and stem cells for biotechnology and therapeutic applications.,
Biomolecular Structure and Mechanism: structure, function and dynamics of macromolecules,
Cellular Dynamics: biochemical and biophysical analysis of cellular processes; visualizing biological systems at all scales: atoms, cells, organs,
Chemical Biology: applying the tools of chemistry to biology, aiding in drug discovery and interrogation of biology,
Genotype to Phenotype: harvesting the information in genomes and the effect of variation,
Precision Measurement & Control of Biological Systems: developing the ability to mechanically, optically or chemically alter and monitor biology for interrogation and diagnostics.,
Synthetic Biology: design, redesign and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems,
Theoretical Modeling of Biological Systems: Theoretical and computational analysis of macromolecules, biological systems, and interpretation of experimental data,
A major function of QB3 is to make connections between scientists in different disciplines and between entrepreneurial scientists and business mentors and venture capitalists. QB3 administers buildings custom-designed to facilitate interaction and core facilities intended to bring together researchers from different fields. QB3 also provides networking services for applied research and technology commercialization. QB3 is not a technology transfer office and does not handle patent applications.
QB3 assists life science entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area seeking to commercialize their research.
QB3 coordinates the annual Bridging-the-Gap Awards, grants of the order of $150,000 renewable up to two years (and available only to UC scientists). From the QB3 website: "The Bridging-the-Gap Award is designed to encourage translational research to speed the delivery of medical and non-medical benefits to society." Funding is provided through a collaboration with the Rogers Family Foundation.
QB3 also supports basic and applied research in selected regions of pharmaceutical chemistry through its sponsored-research agreement with Pfizer.
QB3 operates two campus incubators that are affiliated with two spaces managed by private partners in a system called the QB3 Garage Network. The network is named in homage to the Bay Area garages in which both Hewlett-Packard and Apple began.
The QB3 Garage@UCSF was founded in September 2006 in Byers Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, and the QB3 Garage@Berkeley was launched in April 2010 in Stanley Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. The Garages offer laboratory space to spinoff companies affiliated with the University of California. Garage tenants pay market rates for increments as small as 120 square feet (11 m) and have the opportunity to use QB3 core scientific facilities (but pay standard rates). There is a time limit of two years for occupancy.
Twenty-six companies rent space near the UCSF Mission Bay campus in the FibroGen building, in the Mission Bay Innovation Center.
In April 2011, QB3 and Wareham Development, a real estate company, announced that a 9,300-square-foot (860 m) space in west Berkeley would house the QB3 East Bay Incubator, which launched in June 2011.
In May 2013, QB3 and Dewey Land Company announced a partnership to renovate and outfit a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m) former warehouse in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood as a full-service life science incubator. The building, "QB3@953," will open in September 2013.
Seed-Stage Venture Funding,
In 2009, QB3 director Regis Kelly and associate director Douglas Crawford established Mission Bay Capital (MBC), a venture capital fund currently standing at $11.3 million. MBC exists outside the University of California system but is managed pro bono by Kelly and Crawford. MBC's mission is to make seed-stage investments in biotech companies emerging from the University of California and return 20% of profits to QB3. 80% of profits will return to the limited partners: private investors who contributed to the fund. MBC's portfolio currently includes Redwood Bioscience, a company based on "aldehyde tagging" technology developed in the laboratory of UC Berkeley professor Carolyn Bertozzi; and Calithera, a cancer therapeutics startup launched by UCSF professor Jim Wells. (Bertozzi and Wells are members of QB3.)
QB3 Collaborative Startups,
In May 2013 QB3 and Mission Bay Capital announced a partnership with major industry allies Bayer, Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche to identify and fund promising life science startups in the San Francisco Bay Area.
QB3 Startup in a Box,
The QB3 Startup in a Box program provides scientist-entrepreneurs with resources to start a company, such as legal advice and banking services.
December 2012 saw the introduction of the QB3 Accelerator, a membership and purchasing program for life science startup companies. In September 2013 the program was merged with a similar initiative at BayBio, the San Francisco Bay Area's regional trade association:
QB3 is involved in a number of educational initiatives.
UC Berkeley Biophysics: In 2012 QB3 became administrators of the biophysics graduate (PhD) program at UC Berkeley.,
Graduate Program in Computational and Genomic Biology: QB3 is affiliated with the doctoral program in computational and genomic biology at UC Berkeley.,
GE Bioprocessing Course: A week long course in purification of biological reagents (such as DNA and protein) given by GE Healthcare professionals. Offered twice a year at QB3 facilities at UCSF Mission Bay.,
Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC): Sends a team to the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Administrated by QB3.,
Undergraduate Internships: At QB3-Berkeley, staff coordinate undergraduate summer internships with biotech companies in the Bay Area.,
QB3 does not offer accredited courses, nor does it hire faculty.
In July 2011, QB3 announced that it was reorganizing internally to concentrate entrepreneurial activities and industry partnerships into a division called the InnoLab, and that the campus sites would focus on academic research.
UCSF: Byers Hall on the Mission Bay campus. Byers Hall, officially opened in 2005, also currently hosts the QB3 director's office and QB3 central administration. Many faculty labs are in Genentech Hall, an adjoining building.,
UC Berkeley: Stanley Hall (although many QB3 faculty labs are located elsewhere on campus),
UC Santa Cruz: QB3 forms part of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, and occupies space in the Physical Sciences Building and Engineering 2.