Roche, QB3 unite for startups

Partners will identify startup company candidates in the Bay Area to fund and support

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BASEL, Switzerland—Roche and the California Institute forQuantitative Biosciences (QB3) have announced the formation of "CollaborativeStartups," an alliance with the purpose of identifying, funding and supportingearly-stage life-science startup companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Theprogram unites QB3 with industry and entrepreneurs to bolster startups that are"optimally structured, operationally efficient and funded to succeed."
"We look forward to collaborating with QB3 to furtheradvance promising early stage projects. Collaborations with leading academicinstitutions are at the core of Roche's external innovation strategy and arefundamental to develop the next generation of innovative solutions in areas ofunmet medical need," Zafrira Avnur, Ph.D., global head of AcademicCollaborations, Roche Partnering, said in a press release about the deal.
QB3 is a cooperative initiative between private industry andscientists from the University of California (UC), San Francisco, UC Berkeleyand UC Santa Cruz. The organization's mission is to support science, drive thestate's economy and transform "scientific research into public good." To date,this effort had resulted in 54 bioscience startups within QB3's incubatornetwork. In addition, QB3 operates its venture arm Mission Bay Capital LLC, an$11.3 million seed-stage venture fund created for the support of UC startups.
"QB3 has helped create more than 200 life-science startups,but we need to do more," Neena Kadaba, Ph.D., director of industry alliances atQB3, commented in a statement. "We need to help these companies focus on themost important technical risks and to raise capital. Forming partnershipsbetween the startup, Roche and QB3's seed-stage venture fund when the startupis just getting off the ground achieves both of these goals. The startups willgain invaluable expertise and insights, and Roche and QB3 will have anopportunity to fund risk-reducing experiments for new technologies."
Within this arrangement, QB3 will seek out candidates forCollaborative Startups from among its incubator network, QB3 Startup in a Box,the Bridging the Gap program or university laboratories. If applicable,candidates will be routed through QB3 Startup in a Box, a program thatincorporates and structures new companies and also organizes legal support fromlaw firms in the Bay Area for startup companies. Roche and QB3 will co-investin the startups at the seed stage, with the option of investing in a Series Afunding round for the candidates as well. In addition, Roche can alsocontribute resources or expertise.
QB3 announced a similar arrangement with Bayer HealthCarethis week as well. Bayer has inked a three-year deal with QB3 and Mission BayCapital under which the partners will evaluate and fund startup companies.
SOURCE: Roche press release

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