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Big news for Unchained Labs in Pleasanton

Uploaded: Apr 27, 2021
Pleasanton-based Unchained Labs broke major news Monday when it announced it had been acquired by The Carlyle Group for $435 million.
Carlyle partnered with Unchained management in the deal. It’s headquartered in the Bernal Corporate Park. Founder and CEO Tim Harkness and his leadership will continue in their current roles.
Harkness founded Unchained in 2015 after building and selling two other life science companies. Unchained makes life science tools that are used by biopharma researchers to analyze large complex molecules. Unchained has 170 employees and expects to hit $75 million in revenue this year.
In a press release, he said, “This is a great day in the history of Unchained Labs. The Unchained team has solved a ton of problems for researchers over the past few years, but we are just beginning to scratch the surface of the biologics and gene therapy opportunity.
“I am thrilled to welcome Carlyle as our new partner. They have the team, the vision, the conviction, the experience and the capital to help us accelerate organic and inorganic growth and realize our full potential. I have never been more optimistic about our future.”
Steve Wise of Carlyle said, “Unchained Labs sits at the intersection of one of the most attractive sectors in healthcare, life science tools, and its fastest growing end market, biopharma.” Wise is the head of global healthcare. “With strong industry tailwinds, we believe Unchained Labs has significant growth opportunities and we’re excited to support another founder-backed business to scale through investments in research and development, digitization and geographic expansion.”
Robert Schmidt of Carlyle said, “In the midst of the genomic revolution, Unchained Labs is on a mission to bring highly innovative products that are critical to drug development to researchers globally. We look forward to partnering with Tim and his impressive management team as they help their pharma and biotech customers work on critical scientific discoveries and accelerate the company’s aggressive growth plans.” Schmidt is a managing director specializing in healthcare investing.
Carlyle has invested more than $16 billion in healthcare since its inception. It had $246 billion under management at the end of 2020.

Another Pleasanton-based company, Workday, also hit the news this month when it announced a collaboration of four organizations to help people learn skills that lead to jobs in the tech industry. Workday’s foundation contributed the seed capital for the venture that plans to train and place 5,000 workers in full-time, middle-wage jobs over the next three years.
The collaboration includes JFF, Opportunity@Work and the Skillup Coalition. They will partner to create new pathways to tech jobs without a four-year college degree. They’ve dubbed it “STARs” for Skilled Through Alternative Routes. The organizers estimate there are 1.1 million Bay Area people who could benefit from this approach, the majority of which are Black or Hispanic workers, essential workers or veterans.
The collaboration points out that even if these people have upgraded their skills they are automatically excluded from recruitment because employers require a four-year degree. Employers that join the Bay Area Opportunity Onramps have access to Stellarworx that utilizes Workday’s cloud to enable employers to find, vet and hire skilled talent.
Bryon Auguste, the CEO of Opportunity@Work, points out that there are 23,000 workers in retail sales who have transferable talent for tech sales positions.
With the Bay Area hospitality and tourism industries still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how the collaboration moves the initiative forward.

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