Who are the largest Biotech Companies in the Bay Area?

Intelligent, innovative minds have long been attracted to the San Francisco Bay Area, so it comes as no surprise that the area has a thriving biotech industry. Sometimes referred to as the birthplace of biotech, South San Francisco has over 200 biotech companies and is considered the largest biotech hub on the planet. The industry doesn’t stop at just South San Francisco’s city limits, however — the entire Bay Area has biotech companies, including San Francisco proper, making the Bay Area the ideal location for international biotech conferences — and South San Francisco Conference Center is equipped to handle them. As an added bonus, the Bay Area has a wide range of things to do and see, from dining in world-class establishments to walking under the towering redwoods.

Following are just eight of the hundreds of biotech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Headquartered in Foster City, CA, Gilead Sciences is one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, specializing in the development of antiviral medications for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, influenza, and certain types of cancer. The company was founded in 1987 under the name of Oligogen by John Hopkins School of Medicine graduate Michael Riordan. 

BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical is an international company headquartered in San Rafael, CA. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in the treatment of rare diseases with a primary focus on enzyme replacement therapies. 

FibroGen, Inc.

Founded in 1993 by Thomas Neff and headquartered in San Francisco, FibroGen develops treatments for anemia, fibrotic conditions, and certain forms of cancer. The company has subsidiary offices in Beijing and Shanghai. 


Founded in 2012, San Francisco SaaS company Benchling provides cutting-edge software for research and development in life sciences. Benchling is the most widely used service of its type on the planet and serves industry giants such as Pfizer and Regeneron as well as hundreds of smaller but nonetheless nationally and globally important biotech companies. Benchling was founded by MIT classmates  Sajith Wickramasekara and Ashu Singhal. 

Calico Life Sciences

Calico Life Sciences is located in South San Francisco and specializes in research and development concerning issues surrounding the human aging process. The company’s objective is to make it possible for people to live longer and healthier lives. The company was founded in 2013 by American entrepreneur Bill Maris, who received significant backing from Google.


Grail was founded in 2016 by San Diego company Illumina with backing from Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Headquartered in Menlo Park, CA, the company’s focus is on the development of blood testing technology designed to detect the presence of cancer in patients who have not yet shown symptoms. 

Exelixis, Inc.

Currently headquartered in Alameda, CA, Exelixis was founded in 1994 by Yale student Spyridon Artavanis–Tsakonas and University of California students Corey Goodman and Gerry Rubi. The company’s primary focus is on developing cancer treatment drugs. 

Principia Biopharma

Principia Biopharma was founded in 2008 for the purpose of research and development of late-stage cancer treatments. This company is located in South San Francisco.

BioTech Conference Event Venues in The Bay Area

Please feel free to contact us at your convenience for more information about planning your next biotech event at South San Francisco Conference Center.