UCSF's Desmond-Hellmann envisions a biotech empire on the Bay

Susan Desmond-Hellmann is pushing to make the University of California, San Francisco an international powerhouse in the world of drug discovery. Profiled in an in-depth article in The New York Times, the former Genentech exec is turning the university's Mission Bay campus into a biotech empire, with major federal funding for translational research work and a string of new collaborations planned for the development upstarts that call the Bay Area home.

Unusually, the new UCSF chancellor has managed to cut staff and restructure costs without losing her reputation as a very nice person. And she earned her spurs for keeping a cheerful disposition while making tough decisions when in charge of developing new cancer drugs at Genentech. Sometimes that called for her to kill unsuccessful efforts.

"She's a very nice person, so this did not come naturally to her," said Arthur Levinson, the legendary ex-CEO of Genentech. "She became a tough leader; tough in a positive sense. She was willing to make tough calls without much difficulty."

- here's the profile from the NYT