- The University of California (UC) announced a $250 million investment in the creation of a biotech venture fund to be run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadivé. The fund will focus on investing in biotech-related innovation developed from UC.
- Vivek Ranadivé has start-up experience, having founded and built out two prior start-up, Teknekron and TIBCO.
- The UC system has successfully fostered biotech innovation in the past. More than 800 start-ups with UC patents have been founded over the past 35 years.
Usually, industry funds academia to co-develop new biotech therapies, or a pharma company funds university research before in-licensing the product at a critical juncture later in the development process.
This announcement is slightly different. In this case, academia is funding itself, relying on a noted entrepreneur to vet opportunities. The US system rivals some companies in size, with 10 campuses, five medical centers and three affiliated national laboratories.
Its prolific history includes some notable stand-outs, including CRISPR-Cas9 pioneer Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley, Antoni Ribas at UCLA, as well as a group of professors at UC San Diego who have helped create a local biotech hub.