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Academia should fulfill social contract by supporting bioscience startups, case study says
Date:10/25/2012

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 UCSF researchers.

In an analysis published Oct. 24, 2012 in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) 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.

In the first six years since QB3 started supporting entrepreneurs at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, its growing network of incubators helped launch 60 new bioscience companies at UCSF and across the San Francisco Bay at UC Berkeley at a cost of $1 million per year. Of those, 56 are still in business, and 13 have moved beyond the incubator network or have been
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Contact: Kristen Bole
derek.deike@gmail.com
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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