Biopharmaceuticals

New therapy breakthrough changes the shape of treatment for undruggable diseases

February 24, 2022

Illustration of DUBTAC target

Illustration of DUBTAC in action against a target. (Courtesy Nomura Lab)

For some time, scientists have been working on the major challenge of developing new therapies against many human diseases. Many of these diseases are caused by the abberant action of certain proteins in our cells that are considered “undruggable”, or...

The power of change in science

March 9, 2020

women trailblazers

Guided by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, a formidable entrepreneur in her own right, C&EN profiled 15 women working in the Chemical industry in academics and startups in C&EN's 2020 Trailblazers. Four of them are affiliated with UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry. They have collectively launched more than 30 start-ups aimed at developing treatments for rare diseases, building better batteries, and more. They’re chemical scientists at the top of their game. They’re role models building and mentoring teams. And yes, they’re badasses. They live by the motto “Nobody ever got anywhere by listening to no.”

Can beer yeast be used to create THC and CBD?

December 31, 2019

sconverting yeast into THC and CBD

In a paper published earlier this year in the journal Nature, scientists explain the process in which they are using yeasts to manufacture cannabis compounds. These test tube shenanigans are being conducted more as a way for scientists to gain a better understanding of THC and CBD rather than a means for bypassing the cannabis plant in one’s quest for buzz or therapeutic benefits.

Meet our faculty: John Hartwig

November 15, 2019

John Hartwig

John Hartwig is the Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He received the 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry. His research aims to find new metal-catalysed reactions, and he was one of the developers of the Buchwald-Hartwig amination, one of the most-used reactions in drug discovery. He spoke with Katrina Krämer at the 2019 American Chemical Society national meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Why this UC Berkeley gene therapy spinout is targeting a $100 million IPO

October 9, 2019
David Schaffer

The company, called 4D Molecular Therapeutics Inc., doesn't expect to put its first three experimental single-shot cures for a range of diseases into clinical trials until next year. Yet it already has key partnerships with well-known drug makers Roche, AstraZeneca plc and gene therapy pioneer uniQure NV. Founders David Schaffer, The Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering, and Dr. David Kirn have worked on so-called "viral vectors" — the protein shells ridden by viruses to skip through the body — since before the company was formed in 2013. In gene therapy, those vehicles are engineered to remove the disease-triggering part of a virus and used instead to carry correct versions of genes to replace mutated genes.

Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids

February 27, 2019

Scientists in the lab of Jay Keasling grow marijuana chemicals using yeast UC Berkeley synthetic biologists have engineered brewer’s yeast to produce marijuana’s main ingredients—mind-altering THC and non-psychoactive CBD—as well as novel cannabinoids not found in the plant itself. Medical research on the more than 100 other chemicals in marijuana has been difficult, because the chemicals occur in tiny quantities, making them hard to extract from the plant. Inexpensive, purer sources—like yeast—could make such studies easier.

Jnana Therapeutics announces appointment of alum Joanne Kotz, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer

November 6, 2018

Joanne Kotze, PhD, Jnana TherapeuticsJnana Therapeutics today announced that UC Berkeley Chemistry alum Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., a company co-founder, has been named Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Kotz has served as Jnana's president since December 2017. For more information...

From cyclotrons to wetsuits: A brief history of UC Berkeley’s scientific endeavors

August 13, 2018

Jay Kealsing Over the past 150 years, UC Berkeley has been at the forefront of scientific discovery, achieving milestones that have impacted both the research industry and the surrounding community.

Notable figures and facilities across campus have engaged in and continue to engage in progressing the scientific realm of society, whether it be founding modern statistical theory, producing plutonium...