Thursday, Dec 12, 1996
South San Francisco, Calif. -- December 12, 1996 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE:GNE) announced today that Robert A. Swanson has decided to retire as chairman and from the board at the end of 1996, marking the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the company with Herbert W. Boyer, Ph.D., and the beginning of the biotechnology industry. Swanson will continue as advisor and consultant with Genentech. Genentech will announce a successor to chair its board at the end of this week.
Swanson decided to leave Genentech's board to allow him more time to identify and fund novel young companies working in uncharted areas - much as he launched Genentech with Boyer, a biochemist at the University of California at San Francisco, in 1976.
"Bob Swanson's contributions to Genentech cannot be overstated. He launched the biotechnology industry and then successfully helped guide Genentech into a billion dollar company that has developed ten important pharmaceuticals for serious medical conditions, markets five of them, and employs over 3,000 people," said Genentech president and CEO Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D. "The unique culture he consciously shaped continues to thrive today, providing an excellent work environment where the ideas of talented people ultimately lead to important new medicines that are manufactured and marketed by Genentech. Thousands of people working in this industry or benefiting from biotechnology medicines owe significant recognition to Bob Swanson for his efforts at Genentech."
"My change in role will give me additional time to focus on my first love, venture capital." said Swanson. "It is challenging and exciting to work with bright, creative entrepreneurs whose ideas can change the world, and I look forward to helping them build significant companies."
"Genentech is in excellent hands under the leadership of Art Levinson and his team. Our billion dollar company is highly profitable with a truly exciting pipeline of potential new products. Biotechnology's ability to find cures for major diseases has never been better, and I expect to see a bountiful flow of important new pharmaceuticals in coming years."
Swanson was named chairman of the board of Genentech, Inc. in February 1990. Prior to that time he served as a director and as chief executive officer of Genentech since he founded the company in 1976. Then a 29-year-old venture capitalist, Swanson approached Boyer about the possibility of developing biotechnology and marketing useful products using recombinant DNA technology. Prior to forming Genentech, Swanson was a partner with Kleiner & Perkins venture capital partnership in San Francisco, and from 1970 to 1974 he was an investment officer with Citicorp Venture Capital Ltd. Swanson has a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science degree from MIT's Sloan School of Management.
He serves on the board of fellows of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University and is a member of the Biology Visiting Committee of, and has served as a trustee for, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Swanson is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, a member of the board of Molten Metal Technology, Inc., and chairman of the board of Tularik, Inc. He also serves as a trustee of the San Francisco Ballet, and the Nueva School.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Ten of the currently marketed biotechnology products stem from Genentech science, five of which Genentech markets directly in the United States. Genentech is headquartered in South San Francisco, California, and is traded on the New York and Pacific Stock Exchanges under the symbol GNE.
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