Breaking Bad Wiki
Breaking Bad Wiki

It was my hard work. My research. And you and Elliott made millions off it.
Walt arguing with Gretchen about Gray Matter.[src]

Gray Matter Technologies is a multi-billion dollar company co-founded by Walter White with his friend and fellow Caltech alumnus Elliott Schwartz sometime in the 1980s. The name came from a combination of the two's last names: Schwartz, meaning black in German, combined with White made gray.



Walt and Elliott were best friends at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and worked on their thesis together and collaborated on the scientific research that led to them being awarded the Nobel Prize. ("Pilot",  "Gray Matter") Following their graduation the two friends decided to form their own scientific research company and named it "Gray Matter Technologies" after their two last names combined. The start of Gray Matter appeared to have gone slowly as Walt once mentioned the two only had a few patents pending early on. ("Buyout") At this time, Walt began dating his female lab assistant, Gretchen. ("...and the Bag's in the River") The two fell deeply in love and were at one point engaged and worked closely together with Elliott. However Walt eventually began to feel inferior to her and her family's wealth, and ultimately decided to break up with Gretchen during a vacation with her family in Newport, Rhode Island. ("Peekaboo")

After leaving Gretchen, Walt sold his share of the company to Elliott for $5,000, which he claimed was a significant amount of money for him at the time. He justified his reasons for leaving only as "personal". ("Buyout") Gretchen eventually went on to marry Elliott and Gray Matter became a highly successful, multi-billion dollar company. Although he remained friendly with the two, Walter would secretly feel that his work was stolen from him and bitterly blamed Elliott and Gretchen for his eventual financial problems and lot in life, completely ignoring the fact that he chose to leave the company himself. ("Peekaboo") Even though he would never admit it, Walt deeply regretted his decision of leaving Gray Matter. ("Buyout")

In 2008, the company was nominated for a Nobel Prize for its work on molecular switches. ("...and the Bag's in the River")

As of 2009, Gray Matter has a valuation of $2.16 billion, making Walt's original share worth an estimated $720 million. ("Buyout")

Season 1[]

While Walt is visiting Elliott for his birthday, Elliott offers him a job at Gray Matter, claiming he wants to work with him again and mentioning that the health insurance there is excellent, revealing he knows of Walt's cancer. Walt is disgusted and refuses the offer to return. ("Gray Matter") Walt later deceives his family into believing that he took Elliott and Gretchen's money to pay for his cancer treatments as a cover for his earning the money by manufacturing crystal meth. ("Crazy Handful of Nothin'")

Season 2[]

After learning of Walt's lies about them paying for his treatment, Gretchen confronts him and demands an explanation. Walt refuses to tell her and unleashes his resentment of Elliott and Gretchen for supposedly cutting him out of Gray Matter, which is untrue. He brutally insults Gretchen, marking the end of their friendship completely. ("Peekaboo")

Gretchen however eventually reveals the truth to Skyler after she demands answers and reveals Walt refused every offer that they made him. ("ABQ")

Season 5[]

Walt's regret over leaving Gray Matter later serves as one of the primary reasons for his desire to build a meth empire and he recounts his story of leaving Gray Matter to Jesse when he and their ally Mike want to end their operation and gain $5 million each. This situation almost mirrors Walt's selling off his share of the company for only $5000 when it is now valued at almost $2.16 billion, implying he refuses to make the same mistake twice given the success of his superior and unrivaled methamphetamine. ("Buyout")

After Walt is exposed as a meth kingpin and becomes the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Elliott and Gretchen openly discredit him in a televised interview and claim he contributed nothing to Gray Matter other than its name, though it is apparent the two are only doing this to protect their company's reputation and want nothing to do with Walt given his crimes. This severely angers Walt and prompts him to return to Albuquerque after hiding for months in New Hampshire. ("Granite State") He later forces his two former partners into giving his remaining drug money to his now estranged son through a trust fund organized through Gray Matter under a false threat of death. ("Felina")

Better Call Saul[]

In a flashback of their time hiding out in Ed Galbraith's basement awaiting extraction, Saul got Walt to confess to his greatest regret, which he settled on being leaving Gray Matter. However, he carefully twists his words to blame his departure squarely on Elliott and Gretchen. This news caused an ecstatic Saul to point out that he could have sued the company for "wrongful termination", "intellectual property theft", and "patent fraud" had Walt just told him sooner. Walt, however, claimed that Saul "would have been the last lawyer [he] would have gone to". ("Saul Gone")


  • In 2016, Vince Gilligan finally revealed the true reason why Walter broke up with Gretchen and left Gray Matter: he felt inferior to her and her wealthy family, confirming that it was due to his ego and pride.