Mission & Story



Our mission is to enable awesome. We want to make it easier for entrepreneurial life scientists to change the world for the better. We believe that if you lower the barriers, more great companies will be formed, funded, and flourish.

Launching a life-science company is hard. You need specialized equipment in carefully regulated laboratories. Traditionally, biotech startups overcome this challenge by spending 6-8 months and a couple of million dollars. When the time and the money run out, the founders look at each other and say, “We’re 6 months older, $2M poorer, and we still haven’t done the first experiment”. This is not an efficient approach. This lack of efficiency greatly reduces the number of important companies that get launched each year.

We’ve created a better way. QB3@953’s laboratories have been built and equipped with one goal in mind: to help startups succeed by vastly accelerating their access to facilities and increasing their capital efficiency.  We want startups doing critical experiments in their first week in the lab, not their first year. Great people with exciting ideas are thus unleashed.


In 2006, QB3, a research institute and accelerator headquartered at the Mission Bay campus of the University of California, San Francisco, repurposed a utility room into the QB3 Garage, the first technology incubator in the UC system.

“It’ll never work,” their advisory board said. “It’ll be an intensive care unit for sick companies.” But of the first six startups through the Garage, four won Series A venture funding and a fifth was acquired within two years for $25 million. Quality was clearly not an issue. Furthermore, demand was high. Garage founder Doug Crawford received one to four requests a week from entrepreneurs looking to rent bench space.

Over the following years, QB3 shoehorned incubators into several small sites at UCSF and UC Berkeley, and helped private affiliates launch two other spaces. More than 60 companies passed through these sites, creating hundreds of biotech jobs and bringing in over half a billion dollars of funding. When asked what they valued most in an incubator, the founders answered: access to scientific equipment, and being around other entrepreneurs.

Doug kept these answers in mind, and in 2012, jumped on the opportunity to lease and refit a warehouse in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. He worked with Ryan Guibara of Dewey Land Company to design a new incubator literally from the ground up, implementing everything that QB3 had learned from years of working with early-stage biotech startups.

The result was QB3@953, a full-service incubator offering laboratories, office space, meeting rooms, a la carte access to basics such as fridges, freezers, glasswash and autoclave, a stockroom, and an in-house staffed CRO facility with millions of dollars’ worth of equipment donated by partners GE Healthcare and American Laboratory Trading.

QB3@953 launched in October 2013 with founding partner Johnson and Johnson Innovation, JLABS. Within six months, it was at full occupancy, and profitable within a year. Today, with 40+ resident companies, QB3@953 is the leading biotech incubator in San Francisco. Enabling awesome, one bench at a time.

Upcoming Event

  • Scalable Microbiome Diagnostics for Agriculture

    1st Floor Conference Room, GEHC
    953 Indiana Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, United States
    AMGEN Lunch Seminar Diane Wu, PhD and Poornima Parameswaran, PhD Co-Founders, Trace Genomics RSVP The Trace Genomics microbiome sequencing platform enables screening of disease-causing microbes and interpretation of millions of beneficial organisms in the soil. Their machine learning platform enables simple integration of soil microbiome information into with field management information to help farmers identify optimal management conditions that increase soil health and sustainability as well as crop yields. Their innovative technology has received notable media coverage in Forbes, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, AgFunder, and Fast Company, and was most recently listed by Forbes as one of the 25 most innovative Ag Tech startups. About Diane Wu Diane Wu, PhD completed a BSc in Computer Science and Molecular Biology at SFU (Vancouver, Canada) and a PhD in Genetics at Stanford University. She was awarded a Stanford Graduate Fellowship and published her thesis on the cover of Nature Structural Molecular Biology, advised by Nobel Laureate Dr. Andrew Fire. Diane then joined the machine learning team at Palantir Technologies as one of their first data scientists, where she built predictive models for healthcare, merchandising, law enforcement, and fraud detection.
    About Poornima Parameswaran Poornima Parameswaran, PhD completed her BS in Molecular Biology at UT Austin, a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University with Nobel Laureate Dr. Andrew Fire, and her postdoctoral fellowship with MacArthur Fellow Dr. Eva Harris at UC Berkeley's school of Public Health, where she also worked with the Ministry of Health in Nicaragua. She has been an author on eleven publications (371+ citations), where she used NGS technologies in novel ways to address fundamental questions in pathogen-host interactions.


953 Indiana St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel: (415)-347-8287

Sign-Up for our Newsletter