QB3's Inaugural Event Features Announcement of Major Partnerships with Industry

By Wallace Ravven

QB3 became the third life sciences research building to open at UCSF Mission Bay.

Technology industry leaders on Monday announced several major new research alliances with QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research. Regis Kelly, executive director of the institute, welcomed attendees to the inaugural event celebrating the opening of the institute's headquarters at UCSF Mission Bay. "I doubt if there is anyone who questions the idea that the future of California is ultimately linked to its capacity to innovate," Kelly said. "That idea motivated the California legislature to hold a competition for centers of scientific innovation. QB3 was one of the four winners. It seems completely appropriate therefore for us to celebrate the opening of what we used to call our QB3 building with a day that explores how innovation can be nurtured." Kelly announced on Monday that the QB3 building will now be called Byers Hall in honor of Brook Byers, a key leader in the development of UCSF Mission Bay and a strong supporter of both UCSF and QB3 through the tenure of three chancellors. Byers is a partner in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. He currently serves on QB3's Industry Advisory Board and was the co-chair of UCSF's recent national fundraising campaign, a major part of which helps finance the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Focusing on the theme "Nurturing Biomedical Innovation," the program featured the announcement of several major industry-academic collaborations between QB3 and General Electric, Genentech and Nikon. Forging New Partnerships During the afternoon event, General Electric board chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt described for the first time a new research partnership with QB3 scientists to develop a new type of magnetic resonance (MR) technology for clinical use. The GE technology will be refined and advanced by UCSF computational and clinical scientists to prepare it for clinical trials. The new MR capability is expected to allow studies of tissue metabolism with greatly increased sensitivity to improve disease prediction, screening, diagnosis and treatment. The sensitive measures of tissue metabolism are also expected to improve the ability to tailor therapy to individual patients. Genentech's CEO Arthur Levinson announced an agreement to simplify and speed collaborations between his company and QB3 scientists. The agreement clarifies at the outset the types of issues that tend to slow and sometimes block productive collaborations between industry and university scientists. Nikon Instruments and QB3 announced a new facility to provide a platform for developing new microscopy techniques, software, analytic techniques and imaging methods. The Nikon Imaging Center will be equipped with advanced light microscopy systems and will be housed in UCSF's Center for Advanced Technology in Genentech Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. In addition, University of California President Robert Dynes discussed a new research agreement forged by QB3 and Peking University leaders to ensure increased collaborations between the two institutions and to help integrate QB3's powerful computational approaches in data analysis with advances in theoretical biology made by scientists at Peking University's Center for Theoretical Biology. Dynes also discussed collaborations being developed between other UC campuses and Chinese institutions. "We believed that by creating entirely new academic enterprises with strong regional ties to industry, our vision would become broader and bolder," Dynes said. "I am now certain that the institutes will redefine what universities look like, generating knowledge that will drive research development and delivery. These institutes can tackle complex problems that no one institution could take on by itself." Other collaborations celebrated at the event included the first offering of incubator research space at QB3 to start-up companies, and a new QB3-led research effort in synthetic biology and nanomedicine that is funded by National Institutes of Health. QB3 is one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation and the only one devoted to biomedical research. It brings together scientists from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UCSF to apply intensely quantitative techniques to solve complex biological problems critical to advancing human health. The institutes were conceived by the state of California under then Gov. Gray Davis to improve collaborations between university research scientists and those in the state's technology industries to accelerate the translation of basic biomedical research discoveries into diagnostics, products and treatments to improve health and ensure the growth of the state's economy. Photo by Christine Jegan Source: Wallace Ravven Links: California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research UCSF Mission Bay website