Friday, Apr 6, 2001

Genentech and Biotech Celebrate 25 Years of Scientific and Medical Innovation

Pioneer of Biotechnology Breaks Ground for Research Facility Expansion

"Biotech’s first quarter century has been truly remarkable. As a science and an industry, biotechnology has delivered on its promise of improving the lives of millions of people."

Herb Boyer, Ph.D., Genentech co-founder

South San Francisco, Calif. -- April 6, 2001 --

Genentech (NYSE: DNA), the founder of biotechnology, this week celebrates its 25th anniversary commemorating a quarter century of breakthrough medical research and innovative products. Coinciding with the launch of the company’s year-long anniversary celebration, Genentech will break ground today at 9:00am (PDT) on its expansion of the Founders Research Center, adding 280,000 square feet to provide additional laboratories to support its research efforts. Due to be completed in early 2003, the Center will be the world’s single largest biotechnology research facility.

Biotechnology’s roots can be traced to 1973, when for the first time in history, scientists Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen created the earliest recombination of DNA (rDNA) using two strains of E.coli bacteria, one of the world’s simplest organisms. With this experiment, the new field of science known as biotechnology was born. This discovery combined with the vision of venture capitalist, Robert Swanson, gave birth in 1976 to Genentech, the world’s first biotech company.

"It’s always been about the people, from the many patients around the world to our employees," said Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D., Genentech’s chairman and chief executive officer. "Twenty-five years ago Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson embarked on a scientific and business adventure that would greatly impact the world of medicine. Their vision of helping those in need is what has made biotechnology flourish to this day. And we are committed to furthering that vision of discovering new therapies to meet unmet medical needs."

Biotechnology is a $430 billion industry that now includes 1,500 biotech-related companies in the United States. Today, the impact of biotechnology is far-reaching with the industry boasting 120 FDA-approved biotech products. Fourteen FDA-approved biotech products stem from or involve Genentech science. These include innovative treatments such as TNKase® (Tenecteplase), a 90-second treatment for heart attacks, and Herceptin® (Traztuzumab), a breakthrough treatment for certain forms of breast cancer, which has been used to treat over 25,000 women to date.

Currently in the industry, there are more than 350 new biotech drug products and vaccines in human clinical trials. These potential therapies are designed to treat various cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, obesity and many other conditions.

"Biotechnology has dramatically changed the field of medicine," said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). "Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Boyer and Cohen and the innovative work of all biotech researchers around the world, millions of people have benefited from new therapies. Genentech began this evolution, and twenty-five years later remains at its forefront."

In 1976 Genentech had two employees. 25 years and 4,500 employees later, Genentech continues to strive to be an exciting place to work and a great environment in which to learn. Since its founding, Genentech has fostered an environment that attracts, retains and rewards the best and brightest employees in all areas. Working at Genentech offers scientists many of the best elements of an academic environment combined with the facilities, resources, and stability of an established corporation that encourages them to publish their work. Genentech’s scientists publish an average of 250 to 275 papers each year–a record unrivaled among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

A quarter century after its founding, Genentech employees continue to be excited about what they do and are rewarded with competitive benefits and compensation demonstrated by the company’s listing as an award-winning employer of choice and "best place to work" by Fortune Magazine for the past three years.

Genentech, Inc., is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Fourteen of the currently approved biotechnology products stem from or involve Genentech science. Genentech markets nine biotechnology products directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA.