Tuesday, Feb 20, 1996
South San Francisco, Calif. -- February 20, 1996 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE:GNE) today announced that a new company, Genenvax, Inc. has been created to expand development of gp120, Genentech's potential vaccine for the prevention of HIV infection.
Donald Francis, M.D., D.Sc., a pioneer in AIDS virology and prevention, is president of the new, private company. Francis is the former Genentech clinical scientist in charge of Genentech's gp120 clinical trials. Robert Nowinski, Ph.D. is chairman of Genenvax. Dr. Nowinski is a virologist and biotechnology entrepreneur who has founded such companies as Genetic Systems Corporation, Oncogene, LP, ICOS Corporation and PathoGenesis Corporation. William Young, executive vice president of Genentech, serves on the Genenvax board of directors.
"The creation of Genenvax is an innovative solution to an important issue," Francis said. "With 5,000 to 10,000 people infected with the HIV virus every day, the development of an effective vaccine is the ultimate solution to the devastation of AIDS. Given the necessary resources, the team being assembled in the Genentech-Genenvax partnership will move it closer to a reality," said Francis.
"Genentech already has spent more than a decade and $100 million in AIDS-related research and has taken gp120 through Phase I and II clinical trials," said Young. "The creation of Genenvax allows for singularity of purpose in the development of the gp120 vaccine, both from a scientific and financial standpoint."
Genentech has agreed to provide $1 million of seed capital to Genenvax and to invest an additional $1 million along with private investors. Genenvax hopes to raise at least an additional $18 million from private investors. Following the close of the private financing, Genentech will have the right to maintain a 25 percent equity investment in the company.
Genentech is providing Genenvax exclusive rights to gp120, including use of the vaccine, adjuvants, pre-clinical and clinical data and scientific expertise. Genentech's license to Genenvax and other long-term support are conditioned on Genenvax's ability to raise private financing.
Genenvax's principal initial focus is to conduct Phase III efficacy trials in the United States and Thailand, which are necessary to evaluate the vaccine's ability to protect against infection.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufacturers and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Ten of the currently marketed biotechnology products stem from Genentech research, five of which Genentech markets directly. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco and is traded on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol GNE.
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