• Industry Partnerships
  • Community Partnerships
  • Global Partnerships

Industry Partnerships

In recent years, UCSF has revamped and streamlined its approach to industry partnerships to help move research more quickly and strategically from the laboratory to clinical trials and patient treatment.

The efforts led by the UCSF Innovation, Technology & Alliances and the UCSF Office of Sponsored Research, but parallel efforts are ongoing at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), which is headquartered on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. And those efforts are echoed in new approaches at the schools of medicine and pharmacy, and at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Genentech Hall and Koret Quad at UCSF Mission Bay

At QB3, industry partnerships drive much of the innovation, with the University looking for ways to stimulate business, and business looking to collaborate with scientists and tap the University’s cutting-edge research.

The many industry partnerships across the campus include:

Pfizer:  Anew 2010 partnership between UCSF and Pfizer, Inc. is designed to substantially reduce the time required to translate promising biomedical research into new medications and therapies for patients.  The agreement represents $85 million in research support and milestone payments for UCSF over the next five years if the collaboration leads to development of significant new therapies for diseases with high unmet medical need.  

Genentech: Now a member of the Roche Group pharmaceutical company, Genentech has more than 15 research collaborations with UCSF across several therapeutic areas. Among the most recent is UCSF’s Small Molecule Discovery Center, part of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and affiliated with QB3. Under a 2010 partnership agreement, Genentech will support the work of several UCSF researchers, with both funding and research acumen in neuroscience, and the two teams will work together to discover and develop drug candidates for neurodegenerative diseases.

GE Healthcare:  The formation of the Surbeck Laboratory for Advanced Imaging at Byers Hall on the Mission Bay campus in 2005 enhanced the long term collaboration between UCSF and GE Healthcare with regard to the development of novel magnetic resonance imaging technologies.  In November 2010, this relationship led to the first use in humans of a new technology that monitors changes in hyperpolarized pyruvate, a naturally occurring sugar that cells produce during metabolism,  in order to rapidly assess the aggressiveness of a tumor by imaging its metabolism. The technique has the potential for dramatically changing treatment for many types of tumors by providing immediate feedback to clinicians on whether a therapy is working. 

Nikon Instruments and Technical Instruments:  The UCSF Nikon Imaging Center at QB3 shows how industry partnerships can bring high-end, cutting-edge equipment to the University. In this case, 10 companies led by Nikon have donated approximately $2.3 million in microscopes and other devices to a joint QB3-UCSF School of Medicine facility for light microscopy.

Abbott Diagnostics: A multiyear, collaborative agreement between UCSF and Abbott led to the UCSF Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center – based on the ViroChip work done by UCSF Professor Joseph DeRisi, PhD, and colleagues – that focuses on detection and discovery of novel viruses associated with acute and chronic human illnesses. Researchers anticipate further partnerships that will help unlock the viral causes of unexplained acute illnesses such as respiratory infections, gastroenteritis and encephalitis, as well as chronic illnesses such as cancer.

Community Partnerships

Consistent with its mission as a public university, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is an integral part of the community and committed to forging fruitful relationships that provide support to and strengthen the community at large.

One of the ways UCSF supports partnerships in the community is through the University Community Partnerships Program (UCP) which serves as a bridge between UCSF and the neighborhoods around it. Launched in 2006, UCP works to strengthen the University’s connection with the community and to empower the community to work with the University. The emphasis is on collaboration that values and respects the assets and diversity of both.

Outreach programs connect high school students with UCSF students to engage in science projects and activities.

UCP maintains an annual grants program with the goal of improving public health and decreasing health disparities in San Francisco. Grants are awarded to community organizations for projects in four areas: service learning, education outreach, research and evaluation, and workforce and economic development.

In 2010, UCP awarded 19 grants. Among those in the research and evaluation area were four funded by the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. They are:

  • Using computers to improve health: The Caminos Pathways Learning Center and UCSF Center for Excellence in Primary Care are working together to engage patients at the San Francisco General Hospital Family Health Center by using computer technology to improve their health. The project involves a course in Spanish that includes basic digital literacy and application of skills for managing chronic conditions.
  • Reducing mercury exposure in fish: The Clean Water Fund and UCSF School of Nursing are collaborating on a project to identify populations at risk for mercury exposure from fish caught in San Francisco Bay, develop culturally relevant interventions to reduce mercury exposure from fish ingestion and advocate practice guidelines that improve quality of care related to mercury exposure.
  • Encouraging better nutrition: Gateway High School and the UCSF Department of Pediatrics are partners in a project to enhance education about nutrition. The project includes expanding a fruit and vegetable garden at the school, holding cooking and nutrition education events for students and parents, and adding more fresh food and nutritious options in the school lunch program.
  • Improving the well-being of low-income women: The Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment and UCSF are collaborating to design a survey instrument for more extensive research to measure the impact of microenterprise services on the health and well-being of low-income women in San Francisco. This traditionally underserved population includes women of color, immigrants, women with disabilities and welfare recipients. 

Global Partnerships

As an internationally renowned health sciences institution, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) maintains a reach that goes well beyond U.S. borders. Accomplishments and contributions by UCSF basic science and clinical research teams have transformed health and health care in the global community in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, tobacco use and numerous other areas.

At the center of international outreach is UCSF Global Health Sciences, which works with partners in countries throughout the world to improve health and reduce the burden of disease in the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Global Health Sciences student Amy Penn plays with children in an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, where the Flip Flop Foundation (http://www.flipflopfoundation.org) provides malaria education and other life skills and basic necessities to disadvantaged Zambians.

Established in 2003, Global Health Sciences involves an innovative team of educators, researchers and health care professionals working around the world to train global health leaders and build sustainable solutions to improve health and eliminate disease.

UCSF currently has many active projects in scores of countries throughout the world that represent all four UCSF schools, basic science departments and specialized, interdisciplinary units such as the AIDS Research Institute. Projects include:

  • Aravind Eye Hospital, India: Since 1991, UCSF researchers study trachoma, Sjogren’s Syndrome and optical health delivery at the world's largest eye hospital.
  • University of Zimbabwe: Since 1994, UCSF has researched HIV-associated opportunistic infections, the psychosocial challenges of prevention, and strategies in healthcare delivery.
  • Makerere University-Uganda: Since 1998, UCSF has researched how malaria and HIV interact with one another and the human host. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the capacity of Makerere University to conduct independent research.
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI): Since 2004, the FACES program has provided care and services to HIV affected families, and trains Kenyan health workers in scientifically sound HIV/AIDS care.
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) –Tanzania: Since 2005, this institutional partnership has increased the capacity of MUHAS to educate healthcare workers in Tanzania.
  • Foundation for Professional Development-South Africa: Begun in 2008, UCSF Nursing works to revamp curriculum and train a new generation of nurses.
  • Aga Khan Health Services-Tanzania: In 2009, UCSF formalized a relationship with the largest private non-profit health care system in the developing world.

For a look at Global Health Sciences’ growing number of international partnerships, see this map.