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.

qb3at953 News

Upcoming Event

  • Capitalizing on New Trends of Chinese Investments in the U.S. and Navigating Legal Issues for Startups in China

    Karen Wong, PhD, Partner Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati RSVP The rapid growth of the healthcare market in China is fueling many Chinese funds and pharmaceutical companies to invest in healthcare companies in the US and to attract talent to set up companies in China. This presents an unprecedented cross-border environment and new business opportunities for Bay Area entrepreneurs. Please join us for a lively and hands-on discussion with Dr. Karen Wong, a partner of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, to learn about real-life stories, opportunities, and pitfalls in setting up startups with planned growth or commercialization in China. Karen will cover the topics of US-China cross-border deal structures, technology transfer and licensing, fundraising and term-sheet negotiation, and patent filing strategies for both the US and China markets. Dr. Karen Wong has a wealth of experience in life sciences patent preparation and prosecution, technology transfer and licenses, and due-diligence studies in connection with VC financing, M&A, and public offering. Dr. Karen Wong has served as IP counsel to many venture-backed companies in the US and in China, and has worked on numerous major cross-border transactions, strategic alliance transactions, acquisitions, spin-outs, and IPOs. Karen is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Sichuan dialect.


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

Sign-Up for our Newsletter