AB 2664 Supports Innovation, Entrepreneurship at UC

UCSF Will Use Funds to Nurture Pre-Commercial Tech, Startups

Jacqui Irwin talks with Shuvo Roy in a lab
California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (left), D-Thousand Oaks, visited QB3 last May to learn more about UC's excellence in innovation. She co-sponsored a bill with Assembly member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, to support startup companies, create jobs and generate new funding to advance technologies that benefit society. Photo by Elisabeth Fall

A $22 million investment via California State Assembly Bill 2664 (AB 2664) is supporting innovation and entrepreneurship at UC San Francisco and across the University of California system to support startup companies, create jobs and generate new funding to advance technologies that benefit society.

As a graduate health sciences institution with a history of entrepreneurial activity and significant industry partnerships, UCSF excels in developing therapeutics, medical devices and digital health technology. UCSF’s branch of QB3 has helped create more than 400 life science startups that bring in more than $600 million in investment and create hundreds of jobs each year. The $2.2 million UCSF is receiving from the state through AB 2664 will support emerging technologies and early-stage startups.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship has become a major part of the culture at UCSF and we are seeing a surge in the demand for such resources,” said Regis Kelly, PhD, executive director of QB3 and Byers Family Distinguished Professor at UCSF. “Incubator space is extremely scarce and pre-commercial funding or mentorship opportunities for deserving individuals are rare. The funding provided by AB 2664 provides a real opportunity for UCSF and all UC campuses to demonstrate to their local communities their impressive capacity to create good new jobs, while helping society as a whole.”

UCSF will use its funds for training and education, expanded mentorship programs, proof-of-concept development and startup resources, which include incubator space and funding. These initiatives will be led at the university by QB3, the Office of Innovation, Technology and Alliances, the Clinical & Translational Science Institute, and the Center for Digital Health Innovation. The objective is to enhance the commercial potential of new technologies, leverage more funding from public and private partnerships and increase the number of startups formed from university intellectual property.

Each of UC’s 10 campuses received $2.2 million in one-time funding from AB 2664, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion,” authored by Assembly member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, and signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“The possibilities these funds bring have injected a great sense of excitement and energy within each UC campus,” said Christine Gulbranson, UC’s senior vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. “The new infrastructure and programs to support student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship made possible through Assemblywoman Irwin’s vision, the Legislature’s support, and the Governor’s backing will pay educational and economic dividends to California for decades to come.”

The University of California is an intellectual and economic powerhouse, not only in its home state, but also throughout the world. UC generates five inventions per day and more patents than any other university in the country. UC graduate students found a new startup every two weeks. UC-affiliated companies employ more than 38,000 workers across a wide range of industries, adding over $20 billion in value to the state economy.

“The UC system is the gold standard for research and innovation,” Irwin said. “That’s why I’m proud to have authored AB 2664. The bill’s funding will help convert UC research into products that benefit society. It will lead to more startup businesses and local economic growth. Whether it’s an artificial kidney or water conservation tool, I look forward to seeing how each campus will tailor these grants to bolster its most promising research.”

Ting, who chairs the Assembly’s Budget Committee, said, “UCSF and QB3 have created a hub of innovation for biotechnology and science. By incubating startup companies, this partnership has helped cement San Francisco’s leadership in our 21st century economy. By replicating this model at the other nine UC campuses, we have an opportunity to spur innovation and create jobs in every corner of the state.”

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.