Universities have obligation to support bioscience startups

Byers Hall, UCSF Mission Bay


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The directors of QB3, headquartered at UCSF Mission Bay, assessed the impact of the institute’s efforts over the past eight years in supporting entrepreneurs on the three campuses in which it operates: UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

Universities not only provide the ideal petri dish for cultivating bioscience with commercial potential, but have a moral obligation to do so, given the opportunity to translate public funding into health and jobs, according to a new case study by QB3.

In an analysis published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, QB3 directors assessed the impact of the institute’s efforts over the past eight years in supporting entrepreneurs on the three UC campuses in which it operates: UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

The study found that, by lowering the hurdle even very slightly for scientists to become entrepreneurs, the scientists were able to gain extraordinary traction in translating academic research into public benefit, generating 60 new companies in the first six years and attracting 75 new bioscience entrepreneurs in the last year alone.

“This fundamentally changes the way we think of academic science,” said Douglas Crawford, PhD, assistant director of QB3 and senior author on the paper. “There is a distressing paucity of new drugs in the pipeline and a clear need for new economic engines in this country. This is a call to action to address that.”

The paper cites the following essential support that universities can provide:

  • Bioscience-focused incubators
  • An open network approach that enables any entrepreneur to participate
  • Competitive seed funding options
  • Real-world mentoring that gives scientist a clear sense of market needs.

Read the rest of the story on the UCSF website.
Read the Science Translational Medicine article.