Tuesday, Sep 29, 1981

Genentech is Beginning Efficacy Studies with Human Growth Hormone in Children with Hypopituitarism

South San Francisco, Calif. -- September 29, 1981 --

Robert A. Swanson, President of Genentech, Inc., today confirmed reports that the company is beginning efficacy studies with human growth hormone in children with hypopituitarism.

Swanson said, "This is the second product developed by recombinant DNA technology to move into advanced human clinical study." The first, human insulin, was developed by Genentech and is being tested by Eli Lilly and Company.

The therapeutic benefits of human growth hormone (hGH) were established with a natural hormone substance derived from the pituitary glands of cadavers. Until now, however, insufficiency of supply has limited the number of children who could receive treatment. According to Swanson, genetic engineering will permit production of virtually unlimited quantities of the material. "Children will not be denied treatment because of lack of hormone," Swanson stated, "and medical researchers will be able to investigate the hormone's effectiveness in other types of disorders."

The advanced clinical testing will be conducted at ten medical centers throughout the country: National Institutes of Health, MD; St. Louis Children's Hospital, MO; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA; Yale University School of Medicine, CT; Stanford University School of Medicine, CA; University Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI; University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, VA; University of California, San Francisco; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Chief Investigator is Dr. Selna Kaplan at UCSF, Professor of Pediatrics.

Genentech is a leader in the application of recombinant DNA technology which involves genetically altering microorganisms to produce specific substances such as hGH. The company is developing products for the pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial-chemical markets. Three of its health care products are in human clinical studies-- hGH, insulin and interferon (in collaboration with Hoffman-La Roche). Two products for agricultural use have been announced to date. The first, a vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease, developed in cooperation with International Minerals and Chemical Corporation, has already undergone preliminary animal testing. In addition, the company has used genetic engineering to produce bovine growth hormone working with Monsanto Company.

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