Tuesday, Dec 18, 2001

Genentech Granted Fundamental U.S. Patent for Antibody Technology

South San Francisco, Calif. -- December 18, 2001 --

Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office today granted U.S. Patent No. 6,331,415 relating to fundamental methods and compositions used to produce antibodies by recombinant DNA technology.

This patent, which has claims for the co-expression of antibody heavy and light chains, covers a principal way that therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies are made by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and others using recombinant DNA technology. Examples of such antibodies at Genentech include the Herceptin® antibody product for the treatment of certain forms of HER-2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer, and the Rituxan® antibody product for the treatment of certain forms of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Genentech has a number of existing licensing agreements in place that grant rights under this patent to other companies for certain other antibodies developed by those companies. Genentech expects that a number of additional companies will seek licenses under the patent.

The patent is based on a collaboration between scientists at Genentech and at the City of Hope National Medical Center in the early 1980s, and it is the second U.S. Patent to result from that collaboration. The patent is unrelated to recent contract disputes between Genentech and the City of Hope. The patent granted today follows almost ten years of proceedings in the Patent Office and in the United States District Court to determine whether the invention covered by the patent was invented first by scientists at Genentech and City of Hope or by scientists at Celltech in England. Earlier this year, following a court-ordered mediation that resulted in an agreement between Genentech and Celltech to settle the priority dispute, the court determined that Genentech was entitled as a matter of law to priority over Celltech, and accordingly, that Genentech should be awarded the patent on the invention. Following that determination, the Patent Office again independently examined Genentech's patent application and concluded that the patent should issue.

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

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