About

about

Research and innovation across the full spectrum of biotech

UCSF's Martin Kampmann presenting in front of a gene heat map

Overview

QB3 is one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation, a multicampus operation with departments on the UC campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. QB3’s domain is the “quantitative biosciences,” a multidisciplinary area encompassing the study of biology using techniques and technology derived from chemistry, physics, and computer science.

QB3 supports early-stage commercialization in biotech and pharma, and conducts basic and applied research. Commercialization programs, including incorporation, mentorship, and the Bakar Labs incubator, are largely run out of the QB3-Central office, currently at UC Berkeley. QB3 entrepreneurial programs welcome participants and founders from academia and industry, who need not have affiliations with UC.The institute was founded with the goal of laying the foundations of future industry in California.

QB3-Central also coordinates collaborative research bringing together scientists from all three campuses. The three campus divisions operate core facilities and administer research programs. See Research for details.

Conical flasks in a flow hood under purple UV light

Spinoff Ventures

QB3 has a 20-year track record of spinning off innovative endeavors such as the venture capital firms Mission Bay Capital and Medtech Venture Partners; several incubators, including QB3@953 (now part of MBC Biolabs); and a health technology initiative, the UCSF Rosenman Institute. QB3 founded and operates Bakar Labs, the incubator at UC Berkeley’s Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. Companies affiliated with QB3 brought in $942 million in funding in 2022.

Bakar Labs

Bakar Labs, UC Berkeley’s flagship incubator for biotech startups, was founded in partnership with QB3. It opened its doors to tenants in November 2021.

MBC Biolabs

Originally named QB3@953, the MBC Biolabs location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood launched in 2013, its development spearheaded by QB3’s Doug Crawford.

Mission Bay Capital

Mission Bay Capital was co-founded in 2009 by QB3’s Reg Kelly and Doug Crawford to make seed-stage investments in biotech companies spinning out of UC. MBC Fund I was the first VC fund in the UC system.

Rosenman Institute

QB3’s Christine Winoto launched the Rosenman Institute in 2012. Its original focus was supporting medical device entrepreneurs, but soon broadened to include digital health and health tech.

MedTech Venture Partners

Medtech VP was founded in 2017 by QB3’s Christine Winoto to fund medtech and health tech companies in the Rosenman Institute ecosystem.

UC Berkeley/UCSF Master’s in Translational Medicine

QB3’s clinical director, Dr. Marc Shuman, created the “Anti-Medical School” course in 2007 to explore engineering solutions to challenges in medicine. A chance meeting with Intel founder Andy Grove resulted in the course’s transformation into the MTM program.

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Our Team

The people who make things happen

Our core team, who run our operations across the spectrum from basic research to startup support. We’re always open to new ideas and initiatives.

David Schaffer, PhD

Executive Director, QB3; Director, Bakar BioEnginuity Hub & Bakar Labs

Regis Kelly, PhD, OBE

Former Executive Director, QB3; Byers Family Distinguished Professor

Jeremy Alberga

COO, QB3, Bakar Labs & Bakar BioEnginuity Hub

Lise Barbé, PhD

Grants Coordinator

Riley Hummel

Deputy Director of Outreach Programs, Bakar Labs & QB3

Katarina Klett, PhD

Innovation Discovery Program Manager

Kaspar Mossman, PhD

Managing Director

Wanichaya (Noem) Noiwangklang

Director of Workforce Development

Erica Yab

Events & Program Specialist

Spotlight

Startup Alums

We’ve supported biotech startups since 2005 with incubator space, programming, and VC investment.

4D Molecular Therapeutics

4D Molecular Therapeutics develops gene therapies for patients with eye, lung, and heart conditions. The company is currently running four clinical trials, for Fabry disease, X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, and choroidemia, and recruiting for two: for cystic fibrosis and age-related macular degeneration. 4D was incorporated in 2013 through QB3 and incubated at QB3@953 (now an MBC Biolabs location). QB3 executive director David Schaffer is a co-founder.

Caribou Biosciences

Caribou Biosciences, a spinoff from the UC Berkeley lab of Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna, develops off-the-shelf CRISPR genome-edited cell therapies for patients with devastating diseases. The company has two trials in progress of CAR-T cell therapies for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Caribou was co-founded by CEO Rachel Haurwitz (PhD, UC Berkeley), incorporated through QB3, incubated at two QB3 facilities, and was an early portfolio company of QB3-affiliated VC firm Mission Bay Capital.

Pivot Bio

Pivot Bio manufactures living microbial-based nitrogen fertilizers, produced by fermentation. This replaces the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process, thereby reducing greenhouse emissions. The technology also eliminates toxic fertilizer runoff. Pivot introduced the world’s first nitrogen-producing microbes to U.S. farmers in 2018. Since that time the company has introduced multiple microbial nitrogen products for wheat, sorghum and other small grains in addition to its flagship product for corn. Pivot was co-founded by CEO Karsten Temme (PhD, UC Berkeley) and CTO Alvin Tamsir (PhD, UCSF) and incubated at the QB3 Garage at UCSF.

Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads develops high-performance materials through sustainable, green processes. Their initial product was MicrosilkTM, inspired by spider dragline silk and produced through synthetic biology. Founded by CEO Dan Widmaier (PhD, UCSF), CTO David Breslauer (PhD, UC Berkeley, and Ethan Mirsky (PhD, UCSF), Bolt incubated for several years at the QB3 Garage at UCSF and was one of the Fund I investments by QB3-affiliated VC firm Mission Bay Capital. Further products include MyloTM mushroom leather and B-SilkTM protein, an alternative to silicone elastomers.

Past and Current

Companies

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  • Tunitas Therapeutics
  • Wildtype
  • Calithera Biosciences
  • Chameleon Biosciences
  • Iris Medicine
  • Meissa Vaccines
  • Script Health
  • Ribogenics
  • Radar Therapeutics
  • Eidos Therapeutics
  • Invenio
  • SiteOne Therapeutics
  • Reflexion Pharmaceuticals
  • Namocell
  • Sprint Synthesis
  • Lully
  • Emme
  • Engine Biosciences
  • Pivot Bio
  • OncoSynergy
  • SillaJen
  • Mae
  • YourChoice Therapeutics
  • Digbi Health
  • Ontera
  • Prellis Biologics
  • Aromyx
  • Shasqi
  • OneSkin
  • CV Ingenuity
  • Zephyrus Biosciences
  • Siris Medical