QB3 Entrepreneurship Programs

Investigator: Regis Kelly, MD

Location(s): United States


In 2000, the University of California created QB3 and three other Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation to drive the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for its residents. The investment proved timely. The subsequent recession, our current environmental challenges, and the rising cost of healthcare have made it clear that we must look to innovators and entrepreneurs to solve our problems.

Discovery comes first. QB3’s domain is the “quantitative biosciences,” in which scientists take on challenges in biology using the techniques of physics, chemistry, and computer science. Our faculty members—professors at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UCSF, among them one Nobel laureate and 42 members of the National Academies—publish regularly in top academic journals.

They also patent their discoveries and launch spinoff companies. Carolyn Bertozzi created Redwood Bioscience to commercialize her protein engineering work. Kevan Shokat formed Intellikine to engineer small-molecule cancer therapies. Jay Keasling, with the incorporation of Amyris, launched the biofuels sector of the synthetic biology industry.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, with their youth and energy, are a resource for innovation and job creation. QB3 has built a matrix of support for entrepreneurs that includes a renowned incubator network and a venture capital fund. The companies in our incubators have created hundreds of jobs and attracted more than half a billion dollars in investment.

We also connect UC scientists to global industry through a number of innovative partnerships such as QB3 Collaborative Startups, which brings large pharma companies together with startups in our system.

Our comprehensive approach enables UC to convert life science research into solutions for better health, a sustainable environment, and a dynamic economy.