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Snapshot: QB3

Name: Douglas Crawford, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Director
Name of Incubator: California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)
Location: Mission Bay
Social Media: @qb3
Year Founded: 2000
Number of Companies Currently Incubated:
Number of Companies Total Incubated: 65
Description: QB3 brings together more than 220 laboratories at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UCSF to support basic research and training at the highest level.
Focus, Expertise, Stage: Life sciences
Resources, SqFt, etc.: 43,000 sq. ft.

What is the role of QB3?

QB3 is part of the University of California research institutes, and our focus is economic growth in the state of California. We want to fix the growing gap between the science at the universities and the social benefit of this science. We help entrepreneurs identify the business model and execute efficiently.

We have an innovation crisis. We are spending many fold more dollars in private and public sector and we are getting half the number of drugs. We are also interested in supporting economic growth in our sector. We want to make scientific entrepreneurs more successful by recognizing and lower the barriers that face them. QB3’s role is to create an environment in university to make it lead to health, environment and jobs.

We are big believers in the scientist entrepreneur. We hope that we can lower the barriers to help entrepreneurs prove their technology, which can lead to bringing in expensive venture capital later and potential partners and customers to the table earlier.

What is QB3’s space?

Lab space is a specialized resource. Some entrepreneurs initially do not need to rent a large lap space. These nascent bootstrap companies, which we call this the 0-30 mph space, need more help.

QB3 is a wet lab incubator, with five sites and 43,000 sq ft, and is the first technical incubator in the UC system. Entrepreneurs can rent one bench at approximately $850 to $1,100 per month. Basically, an entrepreneur can use a credit card to validate their technology and start a company.

We provide access to extensive equipment and also have a full range of mentorship and networking. For example, we have Gantt charts on how to get the lab set up quickly to do the first experiment. We also have purchasing group, active partnership programs, KOLs, clinical experts and search communities. QB3 also has peer-to-peer network and support, which improves net productivity of the whole group.

Can you tell us a success story?

Of our first six companies, four of them closed venture capital rounds and the fifth company, True Materials was acquired by Affymetrix for $25 million. QB3 has incubated 65 companies, which have raised $230 million and created 282 jobs.

Why is NIH funding important to the life science industry?

SBIR is fabulous program. A third of the companies at QB3 have SBIR funding at the moment. For example, Fluxxion Biosciences wrote an SBIR grant, and now they have 30 employees and are manufacturing and shipping products.

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