The Mission Bay Biotech Cluster: Antibodies, RNAi, Biofuels, & More

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its Series A venture financing in April from The Column Group to further develop its technology for identifying promising drug candidates through what it calls “Chemotype Evolution.”

Celgene. The giant maker of drugs for blood cancers (NASDAQ: CELG) inherited a facility at 1700 Owens Street when it acquired Pharmion for $2.9 billion in 2008. It has decided to stay put, according to this story from the San Francisco Business Times.

CV Ingenuity. CV’s website is “under construction.”

Delpor. This company is developing new ways of delivering existing drugs for chronic diseases. The company, according to its website, is seeking to enable sustained release of proteins, peptides, or small molecule chemicals through a non-mechanical implant.

FibroGen. This company, which has been operating since 1995, has space at 409 Illinois Street that is currently being subleased to a number of startups. FibroGen is seeking to develop drugs that stop fibrosis, or pathological scarring of tissues. The company also has a South San Francisco location.

Five Prime Therapeutics. This company, backed by the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, is using a proprietary technology to identify new protein drug candidates.

Gemmus Pharma. Gemmus, according to its website, is developing oral pills that stimulate the body’s immune system to fight off influenza and other infectious diseases, in different ways than conventional antivirals or vaccines.

GigaGen. I didn’t find a website for this company, although its founder and CEO is David Johnson, a former project director at Stanford’s Human Genome Center. GigaGen’s mission is to bring next-generation sequencing into clinical practice, according to a biography page Johnson listed for an event at Stanford this spring.

Green Pacific Biologicals. This is an algae biofuel company operating in stealth mode. The best thing I could find in a quick Web search was this presentation on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website, which says Green Pacific is seeking to offer a higher conversion rate of algae into fuel that should provide a 50 to 80 percent reduction in costs.

Lypro Biosciences. This company, based on a thumbnail description on, has what it calls “lipid-based targetable, self-assembling, Nanodisks” which are supposed to help improve the side effect profile of drugs that aren’t soluble in water.

Merck. The pharmaceutical giant has its RNA Therapeutics unit based in Mission Bay, led by Alan Sachs, a former professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley. This RNA R&D center is based on Merck’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics in 2006. I did an extensive interview with Sachs back in January, where he noted that Merck has about 60,000 square feet of office space … Next Page »

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9 responses to “The Mission Bay Biotech Cluster: Antibodies, RNAi, Biofuels, & More”

  1. Watson'n'Crick says:

    Will you PLEASE get rid of that image of ‘DNA’ ? You use over and over again and I feel embarrassed for you every time.

    Not only is it left handed but it appears to have around 30 base pairs per turn of the helix… enough already!

  2. WC- The image was meant only to provide a little abstract eye candy, but point taken. Hope the new image is more to your liking.

  3. Saumitra says:

    Would you also include Vaxart Inc, Vaccine developer.. who have office on Townsend Street. Thank you

  4. Saumitra—I’ve added Vaxart, thanks. –Luke

  5. Crick'n'Watson says:

    Siluria Technologies, located in the Fibrogen building in Mission Bay, recently had an full article in the NYTimes.

  6. Crick—Just added Siluria to the list, thanks for the reminder.