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A group photo of 5 people at Bakar Labs. CEO Greg Went is far left, with CSO Jack Nguyen to his right.

CEO Greg Went appreciates that our time on Earth is short. What he cares about is helping patients with medicines that work. He doesn’t have time for the ego that some scientists have tied up in the technologies they’re developing. He admits that, early on, even his company was too into itself. “What Reflexion lacked early on was the mentality of ‘why develop this technology if it’s not better than monoclonal antibodies.’ ‘Same as’: we don’t need that. We need products that are a factor of two to ten times better than the standard of care.”

Nov 16, 2022
A bench along one of BBH's custom angled exterior concrete walls

Every aspect of our building is innovative!

“What we ended up with was this really cool system of ‘stealth’ looking concrete walls,” Price explains. “They had extreme angles – from 45 degrees to 60 degrees, that were top-cast finished with an EcoSand final finish.”

Being large stretches of concrete, there was also concern about skateboarders, so a custom stainless-steel system of skateboard deterrence was designed to replicate the human genome and installed on the face of the battered walls.

Nov 04, 2022
Katy Digovich at Bakar Labs

But while continuing to work in Africa with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, she learned she couldn’t get far enough away. People were surprised when they learned that the nearly 6-foot-tall, athletic-looking Digovich — a former basketball player in college — was living with Type 1 diabetes, a diagnosis in Africa that often translates into stunted growth, amputation and high mortality. “Ultimately, I got really angry and the switch flipped. If I was born there, I would be dead. That really hit close to home,” she said. “I took stock of my career and threw myself into the diabetes space.”

Nov 01, 2022
Photo of the Bakar Labs lobby, skylight, and part of the main office floor

The Bakar BioEnginuity Hub is a winner for the 2022 Preservation Design Award for Rehabilitation. Award recipients are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists.

Oct 25, 2022
Composite of three photos of Golden Ticket winning entrepreneurs posing with award plaques

The three companies win free lab space for a year, with access to our facilities and UC Berkeley ecosystem, and connections to AbbVie experts and industry-scale resources.

Oct 21, 2022
Group of three Valitor scientists at work in Bakar Labs

“Getting the science right is hard enough, but at least I was trained to be a scientist,” says CSO and former CEO Wesley Jackson. “The skill that I had to learn the quickest was to keep all the company’s stakeholders aligned. I naively assumed that if the science was great enough, it would be sufficient to launch the business. But, instead, I found that a company can only exist because there is a team of people who have an interest in it existing.”

Oct 11, 2022
Valitor logo

Valitor Inc. and its platform technology — spun out of the work of University of California professors Kevin Healy and David Schaffer — looks to take on big players in the ophthalmology space, namely Genentech Inc. and its wet age-related macular degeneration drug Lucentis and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Eylea.

Oct 07, 2022
Valitor CEO Steven Lo (left) and President & CSO Wes Jackson (right)

The company will spend next year testing its multivalent polymer to prep for a clinical trial in 2024. The goal is to create an injectable that can last six months, meaning patients with wet AMD, a chronic eye condition that blurs vision and can sometimes cause blind spots, would only need two injections per year, kind of like going to the dentist, quipped Wesley Jackson, co-founder, president and CSO, in an interview with Endpoints News ahead of the launch.

Oct 05, 2022
ResVita logo

Receiving the SBIR award from NIH on the heels of the FDA approving our lead candidate RVB-001 for the Rare Pediatric Designation is further proof of our vision to treat inflammatory skin diseases with topical cellular therapies,” said ResVita CEO Amin Zargar.

Sep 20, 2022
Perlumi's Chris Eiben at the bench.

“We can’t make more land, so we need to be more efficient with it. One way to do this is to make plants fundamentally better at photosynthesis. If you make photosynthesis better, you solve a lot of problems at the same time. You increase food security, you can pull CO2 out of the atmosphere for the long term, and you can spare land for biodiversity.” 

Sep 19, 2022
12-Time NBA All-Star and entrepreneur Chris Paul

Chris Paul, known by his fans as CP3, became a vegan in 2018 and credits the change in diet with improving his on-court performance. The elite athlete and investor is committed to aligning his business ventures with a social impact mission, including better health outcomes for underserved and low-income communities.

Sep 14, 2022
Illustration of protein being sequenced

Congratulations to Glyphic Biotechnologies! NIH recently reported the company had been awarded a $409 SBIR grant for their project “Single-molecule protein sequencing by iterative isolation and identification of N-terminal amino acids.” The company is developing and commercializing technology to sequence proteins — instead of DNA. They’re hiring!

Sep 06, 2022
Josh Yang and Daniel Estandian at the bench at Bakar Labs

Co-founded last year with fellow Berkeley alum Daniel Estandian, VC-funded Glyphic Biotechnologies’ single-molecule protein sequencer may upend the way that pharmaceuticals are developed. By modifying the standard process for sequencing proteins — including the use of a novel molecule that improves identification — their results are not only more accurate but also significantly faster than the predominant methods being used today.

Aug 27, 2022
UC Berkeley professor Dan Nomura

“I think our DUBTAC and targeted protein stabilization approaches really for the first time allow us to stabilize these aberrantly degraded proteins to treat disease,” says Daniel Nomura, Vicinitas’s founder and a chemical biologist at UC Berkeley.

Aug 25, 2022
The Catena team (L-R: Samantha Brady, Chanez Symister, Maxwell Nguyen, Marco Lobba) at the opening launch event for Bakar Labs and the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser.

How can we direct therapeutics to where we want them to take effect? Often the solution lies in attaching, or conjugating, a therapy to another molecule that performs the targeting function. “We discovered a new protein conjugation process that allowed us to build things like CRISPR base editors,” says Catena CEO and co-founder Marco Lobba. “It’s not just applicable to Cas9, but also to antibodies, cell-based therapies, and several other types of new drugs.”

Aug 05, 2022
Vicinitas logo on a wavy background

“The concept of chemically induced proximity – using multispecific molecules to bring two targets physically together – has yielded notable successes in the field of protein degradation,” said Jorge Conde, General Partner at a16z. “Vicinitas is leveraging its proprietary DUBTAC platform to pioneer the emerging space of targeted protein stabilization. This approach has the potential to access highly valued yet currently undruggable proteins and create differentiated therapies that will impact patient lives.”

Aug 04, 2022
BridgeBio logo

“Partnering with UC Berkeley and QB3 to launch Bakar Labs is a natural extension of our mission to discover, create, test, and deliver transformative medicines to as many patients as possible. Through this collaboration, we aim to strengthen the Bay Area biotech ecosystem and potentially unlock new therapies for patients with unmet needs,” said BridgeBio founder and CEO Neil Kumar, Ph.D.

Aug 04, 2022
A plate of Umaro's bacon made from seaweed

Umaro dives into a new type of technology to create vegan alternatives. Co-founders Beth Zotter and Amanda Stiles picture the future of protein from seaweed farms, a sustainable solution in vegan meat production. The vegan company is the first to develop and use red seaweed protein as an umami-enhancing ingredient in their bacon.

Aug 04, 2022
cartoon graphic of two people shaking hands

“Our winners are great examples of the companies the Foundation wants to attract – bold, innovative, and unafraid of the challenges ahead. These are the types of early-stage technologies we need to nurture today to bring us closer to a cure for CF tomorrow,” Martin Mense, PhD, senior vice president of drug discovery and director of the CF Foundation Therapeutics Lab.

Aug 04, 2022
Decorative graphic with wording "Golden Ticket Competition"

Congratulations to AVECRIS and Nosis Bio! Yesterday, Wednesday, July 20, at Bakar Labs, following the final live pitch session, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced that AVECRIS and Nosis had won 2022 Golden Tickets to the Bakar Labs incubator.   Bakar Labs is proud to collaborate with the CF Foundation in the quest for a cure for […]

Jul 21, 2022
Derek Sims, Cornell Mallari, and Terry Hermiston of Coagulant in the lab

Uncontrolled bleeding is the single largest cause of death among individuals ages 1 to 44 years. In fact, 40% of all trauma deaths are a result of blood loss.

And yet, on the other side of the spectrum, blood clots can lead to another set of serious health problems. That’s why Coagulant is developing CT-001, a recombinant coagulation factor that circulates in the blood for only 3 minutes.

Jul 13, 2022
Beth Zotter holding some kelp

Smithsonian Magazine covers the emerging sector of foodtech companies, including Bakar Labs tenant Umaro Foods, making delicious products from one of the world’s great underused resources: kelp. Umaro CEO Beth Zotter says “[Bacon is] a product notorious for being hard to give up for vegetarians. It’s sort of like the gateway drug that makes people revert back to full-on carnivory.”

Jun 24, 2022
A plate with two pieces of Umaro's seaweed bacon

Plant-based bacon is challenging to pull off. But the version from Berkeley’s Umaro Foods is wooing investors and chefs.

Jun 17, 2022
Josh Yang, Daniel Estandian, and Jai Prakash in the lab

In the first of our new spotlight series on tenant companies, we spoke to Daniel Estandian of Glyphic Biotechnologies. He tells us why and how Glyphic got started, and about challenges they’ve faced.

Jun 16, 2022
Little girl touching little boy's face

“The physical and emotional challenges of chronic skin diseases are devastating to patients, particularly children” said Amin Zargar, Chief Executive Officer of ResVita Bio. “Newborns with Netherton Syndrome face a severe lifelong disease with few treatment options that offer limited efficacy. We are motivated by the prospect to deliver meaningful improvement in the lives of these patients, and this is a significant step towards the development RVB-001 as a treatment for Netherton Syndrome.”

Jun 09, 2022