Founded in late 2000 by the former governor of California, Gray Davis, QB3 is one of four California Institutes for science and innovation. The institute started as an academic endeavor, with operations at the University of Carlifornia campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. QB3 facilitates discoveries and innovation, in areas like genome editing, genomics data sharing, and proteomics. The institute’s goals include supporting research and training in quantitative biosciences and translating academic research into products and services that benefit society.
The QB3 startup summary of activities for selected startups, provided by Berkeley Law & UC Hastings on a twice-yearly application cycle includes:
- Incorporation: Startups get eight hours of assistance from Silicon Valley lawyers
- Services: They receive discounts on a list of services created for entrepreneurs
- FTO Analysis: The freedom to operate in IP space is confirmed
- Mentorship: They receive advice and connections from experienced professionals
- Banking: They are able to open a free commercial account at silicon Valley Bank, which is needed to apply for an SBIR grant
- Roivant Sciences
- Bio Rad
QB3 explored commercialization through startups. In 2004, Regis Kelly, a former UCSF neuroscientist who was appointed director of QB3, hired Douglas Crawford, a recent UCSF PhD, as associate director. In 2016, they both decided to open the space termed Incubator Lab in UCSF's Byers Hall to life science startups and called it the QB3 Garage. One of the first six companies, True Materials, was acquired for $25 million, and four of the others attracted Series A venture capital rounds.
The institute is supported by MedTech Venture Partners, which funds and supports medical technology entrepreneurs. This fund is associated with the UCSF Rosenman Institute, QB3, and UCSF. In 2009, Reg Kelly and Doug Crawford created Mission Bay Capital (MBC) and raised $11.3 million for MBC Fund I: to provide seed funding to assist QB3 entrepreneurs to de-risk their technologies. After three exits, Kelly and Crawford raised $25 million for MBC Fund II. MBC is independently incorporated and now allied with the MBC Biolabs incubator.