University of California Berkeley

The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus – envisioned as a “City of Learning” – was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. Today the world’s premier public university and a wellspring of innovation, UC Berkeley occupies a 1,232 acre campus with a sylvan 178-acre central core. From this home its academic community makes key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, and the nation. Berkeley ranks first among U.S. universities in the number of highly ranked graduate programs. In a report published in September 2010, the National Research Council ranked 48 out of 52 doctoral programs at Berkeley in the top 10 nationally. A total of 21 faculty have been named Nobel Prize winners, including the eight who are current faculty members, along with 32 MacArthur Fellows, 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 87 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 12 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 225 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each year, the Berkeley campus receives well over one-half billion dollars in research support from external sources.

Featured Startups and Technologies

Amyris Building a Renewable Products Company Amyris is building an integrated renewable products company. Founded in 2003 and based in Emeryville, CA, Amyris is using breakthrough science and an innovative business model to address some of our planet’s most daunting problems. We first developed our technology under a non-profit initiative to provide a reliable and affordable source of artemisinin, a highly effective anti-malarial therapeutic. We are now applying our industrial synthetic biology platform to provide alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products. No CompromiseŠ’Ā® renewable fuels and chemicals are being designed to perform comparably to, or better than, the products they will replace. Amyris is establishing the partnerships and capabilities needed to bring our products to market as early as 2011, and to distribute these products directly to customers. Amyris subsidiaries include Amyris Brasil S.A., a majority-owned Brasilian company through which we conduct our Brasilian operations for the manufacture and trade of our products, and Amyris Fuels, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary through which we are building our U.S. fuels distribution capabilities.

Medarex & Bristol-Myers Squibb

March 25, 2011 10:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time FDA Approves YERVOY(TM) (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer First and Only Approved Therapy for Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma to Demonstrate a Significant Improvement in Overall Survival First FDA-Approved Therapy for Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma in More than a Decade First Approved Cancer Immunotherapy for Melanoma to Target CTLA-4 and First FDA-Approved Compound in the Company’s Robust Immuno-Oncology Pipeline Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy Developed with FDA to Support the Safe and Appropriate Use of YERVOY and Help Inform Patients and Providers About Important Safety Risks PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved YERVOY (ipilimumab) 3 mg/kg for the treatment of patients with unresectable (inoperable) or metastatic melanoma. YERVOY is the first and only therapy for unresectable or metastatic melanoma to demonstrate a significant improvement in overall survival based on results from a pivotal randomized, double-blind Phase 3 study. Median overall survival was 10 months (95% CI: 8.0-13.8) for YERVOY, 6 months (95% CI: 5.5-8.7) for gp100 and 10 months (95% CI: 8.5-11.5) for YERVOY + gp100, with p-values of 0.0026 (not adjusted for multiple comparisons) for YERVOY and 0.0004 for YERVOY + gp100 vs. gp100, respectively. As published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Kaplan-Meier estimated survival rate at 1 year was 46% (95% CI: 37.0, 54.1) in the YERVOY arm vs. 25% (95% CI: 18.1, 32.9) in the gp100 arm. The estimated survival rate at 2 years was 24% (95% CI: 16.0, 31.5) in the YERVOY arm vs. 14%2 (95% CI: 8.0, 20.0) in the gp100 arm. YERVOY, which is a recombinant, human monoclonal antibody, is the first FDA-approved cancer immunotherapy that blocks the cytotoxic T- lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4). The underlying research was performed in the laboratory of James P. Allison, then of U.C. Berkeley’s Dept. of Immunology and Director of Berkeley’s Cancer Research Laboratory. He is currently head of Immunology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. The drug stimulates the body’s own immune system to attack tumors by releasing a natural braking mechanism.


Inktomi was acquired by Yahoo!. Berkeley professor Eric Brewer and then-grad student Paul Gauthier founded search technology provider Inktomi Corporation, based on their research project. As the search arms race escalated, Yahoo! acquired Inktomi in 2003. Brewer founded the Federal Search Foundation in 2000 to improve government transparency, and also helped create He still works as a professor and researcher at Berkeley, where he now focuses on technology work in developing countries. His research team’s collaboration with Aravind Eye Hospital in India has helped more than 15,000 people regain their eyesight. Paul Gauthier serves as an investor, adviser and board member for a number of Internet startups.


Cetus was acquired by Chiron, which was acquired by Novartis. Today’s bioentrepreneurs at the University of California have predecessors dating to the early decades of the 20th century. An early example is Karl F. Meyer, whose work on botulism and plague saved the California canning industry and produced a successful vaccine for commercial distribution. More recently, Berkeleyans figured prominently in the history of the first Bay Area biotechnology companies that developed ground-breaking techniques and products. They include Kary Mullis and Donald A. Glaser, two Nobel Laureates associated with Cetus Corporation, where a major biotechnology tool (PCR or the polymerase chain reaction) was invented. Cetus was later acquired by Chiron Corporation, co-founded by another Berkeleyan, Ed Penhoet. He retired as Chiron’s CEO and returned to UC Berkeley in 1998 to serve as Dean of the School of Public Health.

Molecular Dynamics, Amersham, now GE

Molecular Dyanmics was acquired by Amersham, which was acquired by GE Healthcare. The development of high speed, high throughput and highly accurate DNA sequencing methods was one prerequisite for the success of the Human Genome Project. In answer to this need, Richard Mathies and his lab at UC Berkeley developed a new method called capillary array electrophoresis (CAE) where multiple separations could be performed in parallel using bundles of microcapillaries and allowed the generation of over 2.8 million bases in 24 h. This technology was patented and licensed to Sunnyvale, CA based-Molecular Dynamics. The Mathies technology was marketed as MegaBACETM, and established Molecular Dynamics as a major player in the development of DNA sequence and analysis systems. Molecular Dynamics followed up this success story by licensing another UC Berkeley technology developed by the Mathies lab: imaging systems for filmless autoradiography, fluorescence and chemifluorescence imaging, which came to be marketed as the StormTM, and the TyphoonTM. The StormTM provides five orders of linear dynamic range ensure accurate, publication-quality results on the first exposure, while the TyphoonTM contains powerful excitation sources and innovative high-quality confocal optics allow for the sensitive detection of low-abundance targets. Also, its automated four-color fluorescence scanning allows multiplexing of multiple targets in the same sample ensuring accuracy of analysis, increased throughput. The promising sales revenue generated from the sales of these technologies led to the acquisition of Molecular Dynamics by Amersham Biosciences Inc., which quickly captured a significant share of the sequencing market. In 2004 Amersham Biosciences Inc. was acquired by GE Healthcare.


Tularik was acquired by Amgen. A new generation of bioentrepreneurs emerged at Berkeley in the 1990s. They include Robert T. Tjian, Gerald M. Rubin, and Corey Goodman, all sharing an unusual combination of attributes: mid-career basic scientists and professors, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, and co-founders of “start-up” biotechnology companies developing promising new tools and technologies. A prime example is Robert T. Tjian, co-founder of Tularik, Inc. In 1991, Tjian co-founded Tularik, Inc., a biotechnology company in South San Francisco which is a leader for its approach to human disease based on regulating gene expression by targeting transcription factors and other proteins involved in DNA transactions. Tjian chairs Tularik’s Scientific Advisory Board. He also serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is the President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Oncobionic was acquired by Angiodynamics. Non thermal irreversible electroporation (NTIRE), was conceived in the laboratory of Boris Rubinsky in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. NTIRE employs specially designed electric fields which, when delivered across living matter, produce nanoscale pores in the cell membrane while all other biological molecules subjected to the electric field remain intact. The molecular selectivity of NTIRE made possible the first clinical molecular surgery technology with unique medical applications. The FDA-approved version of the technology is commercialized under the brand name NanoknifeTM. The technology, which was released less than two years ago, has already been used to treat close to 250 patients with diseases that had no previous treatment such as pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and certain types of kidney and liver cancer.


Our company developed from a start-up to a successful public company with over 500 employees and $80 million in annual revenues by following a bold, innovative strategy. This strategy was developed with valuable insight from Atlas Venture, and key to the strategy was a major contract with Glaxo SmithKline, which was facilitated by Atlas’ contacts there. George Scangos, Ph.D., President and CEO, Exelixis

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