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QB3 Opens New Incubator at UC Berkeley

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3, later today will open a new incubator space at the University of California Berkeley — the institute's first incubator in the East Bay, and second in the broader San Francisco Bay Area for housing startup companies.

UC Berkeley is one of three UC institutions that comprise QB3; the others are UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz. "We hope that this business incubator will jumpstart new companies with origins in UC research labs," Susan Marqusee, director of QB3's UC Berkeley branch and a professor of molecular and cell biology, said in a statement.

The new incubator's first tenant — set to occupy a 100-square-foot space at Stanley Hall — is Aperys LLC, launched by a recent PhD graduate of UC Berkeley, Wesley Chang. Aperys sells specialized cell culture platforms allowing researchers to grow nerve cells in precise patterns, with the goal of simplifying their experiments.

Chang and a part-time employee will work within Aperys' space, part of an 800-square-foot windowless room. QB3's statement said Chang will have access to the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center at Stanley Hall, as well as the campus' microfabrication and cell culture labs.

"Within two years, it's expected that Aperys will be out the door to make room for other nascent companies," QB3 said.

QB3 also said it hopes the Berkeley facility will enjoy the success of its QB3 Garage@UCSF incubator. Opened in 2006, that incubator has nurtured some 28 biotech startups — both within its 2,500-square-foot original space within UCSF's Mission Bay campus, and one block east within a 10,000-square-foot section of FibroGen's headquarters at 409 Illinois St.

The UC Berkeley and Garage incubator are two of several that QB3 hopes to operate across the Bay Area through the QB3 Mission Bay Incubator Network, which uses public and private funding to assist startups. Network partners include QB3; the city of San Francisco; the San Francisco Center for Economic Development/Chamber of Commerce; FibroGen; and Alexandria Real Estate.