Friday, Oct 23, 1998
South San Francisco, Calif. -- October 23, 1998 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE:GNE) today dedicated its new $250 million manufacturing facility in Vacaville. The 310,000 square foot operation will be the world's largest biotech manufacturing facility for the large-scale production of pharmaceutical proteins.
"The dedication of this impressive state-of-the-art science facility is a significant milestone in the history of Genentech," said Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D., Genentech's president and chief executive officer. "It is the first major facility built off-site from our corporate headquarters in South San Francisco and is the company's largest capital project to date."
The dedication ceremony emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration in the development and in the future of the Vacaville operations.
Frank Jackson, general manager of the Vacaville plant, credited the vision and investment of local, state and federal officials for bringing Genentech to Vacaville and for helping the company and its contractors complete an aggressive construction schedule on time.
He also gave special recognition to the three years of work since the groundbreaking by his colleagues on the Genentech Vacaville project team. "Standing here on what was a bare field only three years ago, I am awed and proud of what we have accomplished in creating a facility that can and will produce innovative medicines for patients with serious unmet medical needs."
The first drug that the new plant will produce is Herceptin® (Trastuzumab), a drug for serious cases of breast cancer approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month. Production of marketed medicines at Vacaville will begin once manufacturing processes are tested and validated and then approved by the FDA, which Genentech anticipates will occur by the end of 1999.
"Herceptin was only in Phase II clinical trials, quite early in the process and well before we knew if it would prove to be safe and effective, when we began planning Vacaville," said William D. Young, Genentech's chief operating officer. "Herceptin's FDA approval last month certainly validated our belief in Genentech's product pipeline and, with superb timing, validated the risk we took."
The importance of producing drugs like Herceptin for patients was underscored in a special presentation at the dedication. COO Young presented a $25,000 grant to Vacaville's Marti Nelson Cancer Research Foundation, an organization founded to support and encourage advocacy for women with breast cancer.
In her last months, Marti Nelson became a strong advocate for expanded access on behalf of the many breast cancer patients who would follow her. After her death, her husband Bob Erwin formed the Marti Nelson Cancer Research Foundation in her memory. He accepted the donation on the Foundation's behalf.
Special recognition was also given to retiring 20-year California Congressman Vic Fazio for his steadfast support of the Vacaville project.
"The support Congressman Fazio provided for this project is only one small example of his many contributions to the growth of biotechnology in his long congressional career," Levinson said. "With his impending retirement, we wish to acknowledge that contribution."
Other dignitaries in attendance at the dedication included Senator Mike Thompson, Assemblywoman Helen Thomson, Vacaville Mayor David Fleming, Superintendent of Schools for the Vacaville District, Richard Jackson and Johan Klehs from the Board of Equalization.
With the opening of the Vacaville facility, Genentech now employs 3,315 employees working in 26 buildings totaling 2,330,000 square feet.
Genentech, Inc., is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Twelve of the currently marketed biotechnology products stem from Genentech science, seven of which Genentech markets directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Exchange under the symbol GNE.
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