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

6/29/10Follow @xconomy

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and is fully staffed, although he wouldn’t disclose how many employees Merck has in Mission Bay.

Metafold Therapeutics. This company, according to a blurb on QB3′s website, is developing “breakthrough medicines to improve beta-cell function and longevity,” as a way to treat Type 2 diabetes.

MLC Dx. Malek Faham, who co-founded ParAllele Biosciences, is the chief scientific officer of this new molecular diagnostics company, according to this posting on the International Conference on Systems Biology website from last summer.

Nektar Therapeutics. This public company (NASDAQ: NKTR), which has a market capitalization of $1.1 billion, is moving its headquarters from San Carlos to become neighbors with Bayer in the same Mission Bay facility being vacated by Pfizer. CEO Howard Robin hit gold in SF with his last company, Sirna Therapeutics, so he’s no stranger to The City.

Omniox. This company, based on work by UC Berkeley chemist Michael Marletta, is developing a protein that binds to oxygen to help improve transport throughout the body, according to this article on UCSF’s site about a year ago.

Osprey Pharmaceuticals. Osprey is developing protein drugs for inflammatory and immune system disorders. The company, according to its website, raised $11 million in its initial venture round in May 2008.

PharmaJet. This company seeks to deliver vaccines drugs through the skin without needles. PharmaJet says it has an office in San Francisco, although its main office has been in Golden, CO, since March 1.

Photoswitch Biosciences. Photoswitch has a bare bones website, which just says it is working on “light-activated ion channels.” A profile on the QB3 webpage for Photoswitch Therapeutics says it is developing small-molecule compounds that act like photoswitches that restore light sensitivity to the retina, for people with retinal degenerative diseases like age-related macular degeneration.

Presidio Pharmaceuticals. Presidio says it has raised more than $54 million in venture capital to develop small-molecule antiviral meds. The company is currently focused on hepatitis C and HIV, according to its website.

SeaChange Pharmaceuticals. This company uses computational techniques to identify new uses for existing drugs, known in the trade as “repurposing.” SeaChange is seeking to apply this idea to rare diseases that are underserved markets.

Siluria Technologies. Siluria, which was recently profiled in the New York Times, is working on a virus to convert natural gas into ethylene, which it says is the world’s most common chemical intermediate, which goes into a variety of consumer and industrial products. [Updated: 11:30 am, 7/7/10]

Solidus Biosciences. Solidus says it is developing a test which biotech and pharmaceutical customers can use to separate the winners from the losers early in the drug development process, by predicting which candidates will be too toxic in humans.

Tunitas Therapeutics. Tunitas moved to San Francisco’s Mission Bay district in April, according to the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The company is developing targeted protein drugs for allergies, according to its website.

Vaxart. This company is developing vaccines that it hopes will be taken as oral pills, or chewable tablets. Vaxart, according to its website, is testing an avian flu vaccine in animals and is working toward beginning a clinical trial in 2010. [Updated: 3:25 pm, 6/29/10]

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