Monday, Nov 10, 2003
South San Francisco, Calif. -- November 10, 2003 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) announced today that it has been named by Scientific American magazine as one of the "Scientific American 50," the magazine's annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in technology from the past year. Genentech was named the Business Leader in Medical Treatment for developing Avastin (bevacizumab), an investigational therapeutic antibody that is presently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a potential treatment for first-line metastatic carcinoma of the colon and rectum in combination with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy.
Selected by the magazine's Board of Editors with the help of distinguished outside advisors, the Scientific American 50 spotlights research, business and policy leaders in many technological categories, including Agriculture, Chemicals & Materials, Communications, Computing, Energy, Environment, Medical Treatments and more.
"We are honored to be included on the Scientific American 50 list this year for our development of Avastin," said Richard Scheller, Ph.D., executive vice president, Research at Genentech. "At Genentech, we have a long tradition of high-quality, innovative science that leads to breakthrough medicines for patients, and we continue to try to advance this tradition through our study of molecules such as Avastin that have the potential, if approved by the FDA, to be first-in-class, groundbreaking therapies for unmet medical needs."
Avastin is designed to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that plays an important role in tumor angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels to the tumor) and maintenance of existing tumor vessels. By inhibiting VEGF, Avastin is designed to choke off the critical blood supply to tumors, interfering with their ability to grow and metastasize.
For decades, the link between angiogenesis and cancer growth had been discussed by many researchers, but it wasn't until 1989 that VEGF was discovered by Napoleone Ferrara, M.D., a scientist at Genentech. Dr. Ferrara and his team cloned VEGF, providing some of the first evidence that a specific angiogenic growth factor existed. In 1993, Dr. Ferrara and his team at Genentech demonstrated that an antibody directed against VEGF could suppress angiogenesis and tumor growth in preclinical models, providing compelling evidence that VEGF may play a critical role in tumor growth. Clinical studies with a humanized version of the antibody, Avastin, began in 1997.
The Scientific American 50 appears in the magazine's December issue, arriving on newsstands November 25, and can also be accessed on the magazine's website as of today at http://www.sciam.com.
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes biotherapeutics for significant unmet medical needs. Sixteen of the currently approved biotechnology products originated from or are based on Genentech science. Genentech manufactures and commercializes 12 biotechnology products 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. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.