Top 6 biotech companies in South San Francisco

South San Francisco is known as the birthplace of biotechnology, after Robert Swanson and Dr. Herbert Boyer founded biotech giant Genentech in 1976, which eventually led to other biotech companies and locally based pharmaceutical companies. In this article, we look at six biotech companies currently headquartered in South San Francisco.

Today, the area is a major biotech center, competing with Boston – which is known for its biotech scene – and North Carolina – which is known as Research Triangle Park – with more than 200 biotech companies having offices or R&D facilities located there, including the names -Big names like Genentech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Overall, it has an estimated 11.5 million square feet of space on 500 acres dedicated to biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

The region’s proximity to Silicon Valley plays a large part in its attractiveness to many biotechs, allowing Silicon Valley healthcare entrepreneurs and researchers to collaborate with companies easily and efficiently.

Several biotech companies also officially have their headquarters located in the South San Francisco area. In no particular order, here are the top six biotech companies that call South San Francisco their home.


Considered an industry giant, Genentech is highly regarded in the biotech industry, having been founded more than 40 years ago in 1976. The company became a member of the Roche Group in March 2009, whereupon the two companies combined their pharmaceutical operations in the US. as part of the agreement, means Genentech’s South San Francisco headquarters now serves as headquarters for Roche’s US pharmaceutical operations

Genentech focuses on a wide range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, immunology, neuroscience, metabolism, infectious diseases and ophthalmology. His current clinical pipeline consists of more than 60 investigative molecules covering all of these therapeutic areas.

It also has several approved products, such as Activase, to treat patients with acute ischemic stroke, Esbriet, to treat people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and OCREVUS, to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and primary progressive MS.

Biosciences 3T

After being founded in 2017, 3T Biosciences is debuting in 2022 with a $40 million Series A financing. A company focused on immunotherapy, wants to change the future of treatment of solid tumors, as well as other immune-mediated diseases. By studying the patient’s immune response to cancer, this study aims to find the best generalizable immunogenic targets for several tumor indications and across patient populations. It pairs this with therapeutic development in an effort to create transformative therapies.

The company used its proprietary 3T-TRACE platform technology to identify novel co-target T-cell receptor (TCR) of productive immune responses against solid tumors and other diseases, and to comprehensively screen TCR molecules and T-cell receptor mimetic molecules (TCRm) for specificity and lethal -target cross-reactivity, to then potentially create safer, tumor-specific therapies that can be administered at higher doses.

3T Biosciences recently entered into a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement with the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim to discover and develop next-generation cancer therapies to meet the unmet needs of patients.


Vistagen is committed to improving mental health and well-being by developing innovative lines of central nervous system (CNS) medicine to try and set new standards of care in the treatment of a variety of serious anxiety, depression and other CNS disorders.

The South San Francisco-based biotechnology company currently has three main drug candidates in its clinical pipeline: the phaseadienol nasal spray is in phase 3 development to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD); Ittruvone nasal spray is in a phase 2 trial to treat major depressive disorder (MDD); and AV-101 are oral drugs in phase 1 of development for potential CNS indications, and specifically have been granted US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-track designation for MDD and neuropathic pain.

Vistagen recently announced positive data in phase dienol from a phase 3 open label study designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of multiple intranasal administration of dienol as needed over time in adults with SAD. The FDA also provided positive feedback to companies regarding the use of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) as an end point in the development of phase 3 dienols.

Calico Life Sciences

Calico Life Sciences is a South Francisco-based biotechnology company focused on a special area: the aging process. He wanted to find solutions that would help people live longer and healthier lives. It uses academic research and cutting-edge medical technology to answer biological questions around how humans age and design interventions to help people live longer, find new targets and develop first-class therapies for age-related diseases.

The company’s approach has resulted in a portfolio of more than 20 early- and late-stage preclinical compounds in cancer, neurological disease, and tissue homeostasis and repair. Additionally, as part of the collaboration with AbbVie – to which AbbVie is providing scientific and clinical development support and will lend its commercial expertise to lead future development and commercialization activities – Calico is developing an investigative product called ABBV-CLS-7262 for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The product is currently being tested in the HEALEY ALS Platform trial by the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital. In March, the trial registered the first participants for ABBV-CLS-7262.


GRAIL’s mission is to increase mortality from cancer by being able to detect cancer at an early stage, at a curable stage. It aims to do this by developing blood testing technology that uses genetic sequencing. The company has several ongoing clinical studies, and has enrolled more than 300,000 participants in clinical study programs to demonstrate the broad applicability of its multi-cancer early detection technology.

In fact, the South Francisco biotech company has successfully developed Galleri, which is an advanced test capable of detecting multiple types of cancer at an early stage through a single blood draw. This test is designed to decode tumor DNA fragments in the bloodstream so that they can trace the location of the original organ of the cancer. This test is available in the US on prescription for people at high risk of cancer.

Last year, GRAIL and the National Health Service (NHS) in England also completed enrollment of 140,000 participants aged 50 to 77, in the largest-ever study of multi-cancer early detection tests.

Sutro Biopharma

Another South San Francisco biotech focused on oncology is Sutro Biopharma, which is dedicated to changing the lives of cancer patients by creating drugs with better therapeutic profiles for areas where their needs are not being met. The company has an integrated, patented cell-free protein synthesis platform called XpressCF, as well as a site-specific conjugation platform, known as Xpress CF+.

This platform has so far led to antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecific antibodies, cytokine-based immuno-oncology therapies, and target-directed vaccines previously in clinical indications where current standards of care are considered sub-optimal.

In addition, the platform assists the discovery of the STRO-001 and STRO-002, which are the first two ADCs developed internally by Sutro. STRO-001 targets CD74 – a homotrimeric membrane protein that acts as a receptor for macrophage migration inhibitory factor – and in clinical studies for B-cell malignancies, whereas STRO-002 targets folate receptor alpha – a folate-binding protein involved in folate transport – and is currently under study. clinical trials for ovarian and endometrial cancer.

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