Timeless Partnerships

After forty years in the biotechnology industry, we know what it means to find the right partner. In fact, Genentech’s history is rooted in collaboration. Our co-founder, Herb Boyer, collaborated with his research colleague, Stanley Cohen, on the scientific breakthrough of engineering recombinant DNA into bacteria, laying the foundation for the company we’ve become. With this history, it’s no surprise that more than half of our pipeline molecules and marketed products derive from successful collaborations with companies and institutions around the world.

The goal of our partnerships is to create value for everyone involved – Genentech, our partners, and most importantly, patients. We close between 10 and 20 deals each year, and the creativity we use in structuring these deals reflects the diversity of our collaborators. We strive to work with the best scientists in the world, in a broad set of therapeutic areas, with the best new tools and technologies, all with the goal of enhancing the scientific and drug discovery efforts that will benefit patients.

To put our history of collaboration into perspective, we’ve created a timeline that highlights our partners, our collaborative efforts and the medicines that have been realized through these relationships.

Building "Clot-Busters"

In 1983, Genentech entered into a co-promotion agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. regarding the commercialization of human tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA)1. Our agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim occurred the same year we were granted exclusive commercialization rights on inventions related to the research of Dr. Désiré Collen, University of Leuven, in the area of t-PA – following more than two years of collaboration with him2.

As a result of these agreements, three medicines were developed that had a profound impact on treating heart conditions.

Activase® (alteplase) Indication and Important Safety Information was FDA-approved in 1987 for the treatment of acute heart attacks. It works by dissolving clots obstructing coronary arteries, improving ventricular function and reducing the incidence of congestive heart failure3.

TNKase® (tenecteplase) Indication and Important Safety Information was FDA-approved in 2000 for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and was the first “clot-buster” that can be administered over five seconds in a single dose, offering physicians the fastest administration of a thrombolytic to date in the treatment of heart attack4. It was specifically designed to have a prolonged half-life, enabling single bolus injection (dosing)5.

Cathflo Activase® (alteplase) Indication and Important Safety Information was FDA-approved in 2001 for the restoration of function to central venous access devices (CVADs) that have become occluded due to blood clot. It’s estimated that 25 percent of all CVADs become occluded and that 60 percent of these are caused by the formation of a blood clot6.

Firsts in Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis

In 1995, Genentech entered into a collaboration with Biogen Inc. (previously known as Biogen Idec and formerly IDEC Pharmaceuticals) for the clinical development and commercialization of Rituxan® (rituximab) Indication and Important Safety Information – formerly known as C2B8 – for the treatment of CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma7. Our collaboration was later expanded to include next-generation anti-CD20 antibodies aimed at B-cell disorders for both blood cancers and autoimmune disease indications8.

In 1997 – less than two years after the start of the collaboration – Rituxan was FDA-approved and was the first monoclonal antibody approved for the treatment of cancer in the United States9. As a result of our expanded collaboration, in 2006 Rituxan became the first FDA-approved medicine to treat certain types of rheumatoid arthritis10.

In 2010, Genentech and Biogen announced a restructuring of their collaboration on antibodies targeting CD2011. Genentech assumed responsibility for the further development and commercialization of Ocrevus®(ocrelizumab) Indication and Important Safety Information, which was approved in 2017 as the first and only FDA-approved medicine for both relapsing and primary progressing forms of multiple sclerosis.12

Using Antibodies for Asthma and Wet AMD

Since 1996 Genentech, Tanox, Inc. (later acquired by Genentech) and Novartis Pharma AG have been working together to develop and commercialize certain anti-IgE antibodies including Xolair® (omalizumab) Indication and Important Safety Information13.

At the time of approval in 2003, Xolair was the first humanized therapeutic antibody for the treatment of asthma and the first therapy designed to target the antibody IgE, a key underlying cause of the symptoms of allergy-related asthma14.

Also in 2003, Genentech entered into an agreement with Novartis Ophthalmics under which they received an exclusive license to develop and market Lucentis®(ranibizumab injection) Indication and Important Safety Information – formerly known as rhuFab V2 – outside of North America for indications related to diseases of the eye15.

Lucentis, which was specifically developed for intraocular use in the eye, was first approved in 2006 for the treatment of neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and was the first treatment to improve vision in up to 40 percent of patients with wet AMD. Lucentis was also the first FDA-approved medicine for both diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy with diabetic macular edema16,17,18.

Breaking Ground in Breast Cancer

In 2000, Genentech entered into an agreement with ImmunoGen, Inc. under which we received exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize anti-HER2 targeting therapeutics using ImmunoGen's Tumor-Activated Prodrug (TAP) technology19.

The idea for Kadcyla® (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) Indication and Important Safety Information stemmed from the curiosity of Genentech scientists who wondered if they could harness antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) to reduce the collateral effects of chemotherapy on healthy cells20.

In 2013 Kadcyla became the first FDA-approved ADC for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease21.

Original Release & Related Stories

A Targeted Approach in Lung Cancer

In 2001, Genentech entered into a tripartite agreement with OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (later acquired by Astellas Pharma Inc.) and Roche for the global co-development and commercialization of Tarceva® (erlotinib) Indication and Important Safety Information – formerly known as OSI-774 –an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)22.

At the time of approval in 2004, Tarceva, one of the first medicines to be granted and approved under the FDA's Pilot 1 program, was the only therapeutic in the EGFR class to demonstrate in a Phase III clinical trial an increase in survival in previously treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients23.

Original Release & Related Stories

Battling Basal Cell Carcinoma

In 2003, Genentech entered into a collaboration agreement with Curis, Inc. for preclinical development of compounds that inhibit the Hedgehog pathway and identified Erivedge ® (vismodegib) Indication and Important Safety Information – formerly known as GDC-0449 – one year later24.

Back in 1996, Genentech began research into the Hedgehog pathway's role in neurology and development, and discovered that the pathway plays a role in cancer24.

In 2012, Erivedge became the first FDA-approved medicine for people with advanced forms of basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer25.

Original Release & Related Stories

A One-Two Punch for Melanoma

In 2006, Genentech entered into an agreement with Exelixis, Inc. for the worldwide co-development of Cotellic® (cobimetinib) Indication and Important Safety Information – formerly known as XL51826.

In 2015, Cotellic received FDA approval for the treatment of a certain type of melanoma in combination with Zelboraf® (vemurafenib) Indication and Important Safety Information . Cotellic was discovered by Exelixis and was developed by Genentech in collaboration with Exelixis27.


Restoring A Self Destructive Mechanism

Genentech has been collaborating with The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) since December 2006. In 2007, we entered into a research collaboration with AbbVie (formerly part of Abbott) and in 2008, we entered into a tripartite research arrangement with AbbVie and WEHI to discover new cancer therapies targeting the apoptosis pathway28,29.

Venclexta (venetoclax) Indication and Important Safety Information was discovered from our joint research collaboration when scientists from all three organizations worked together on improving molecules in the area of Bcl-2 family protein antagonists.

Venclexta is the first FDA-approved medicine designed to help restore a process in which cells self-destruct (apoptosis) by selectively blocking the Bcl-2 protein30.


Press releases listed above may no longer reflect the current deal structure.


  1. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4209/1983-12-15/genentech-and-major-european-pharmaceuti
  2. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4199/1983-05-10/genentech-obtains-exclusive-development-
  3. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4271/1987-11-13/licensing-of-activase-marks-new-era-in-t
  4. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4621/2000-06-02/fda-approves-new-single-injection-clot-b
  5. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4903/1999-08-02/genentech-submits-application-for-fda-ap
  6. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4679/2001-09-04/fda-approves-cathflo-activase-alteplase-
  7. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4739/1995-03-03/genentech-and-idec-pharmaceuticals-to-co
  8. Genentech press release: https://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/6307/2003-06-20/genentech-and-idec-announce-humanized-an
  9. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4838/1997-11-26/first-new-drug-for-non-hodgkins-lymphoma
  10. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/9407/2006-02-28/fda-approves-rituxan-the-first-targeted-
  11. Roche press release: http://www.roche.com/investors/updates/inv-update-2010-10-21b.htm
  12. Genentech press release: https://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14657/2017-03-28/fda-approves-genentechs-ocrevus-ocrelizu
  13. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/7147/2004-02-26/genentech-novartis-and-tanox-settle-disp
  14. https://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/6287/2003-06-20/fda-approves-xolair-biotechnology-breakt
  15. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/6327/2003-06-24/genentech-and-novartis-ophthalmics-annou
  16. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/9787/2006-06-30/fda-approves-lucentis-for-the-treatment-
  17. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14127/2012-08-10/fda-approves-lucentis-ranibizumab-inject
  18. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14585/2015-02-06/fda-approves-genentechs-lucentis-ranibiz
  19. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4613/2000-05-04/immunogen-and-genentech-sign-exclusive-l
  20. Genentech corporate website: http://www.gene.com/stories/her2/?topic=oncology
  21. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14347/2013-02-22/fda-approves-genentechs-kadcyla-ado-tras
  22. http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/4639/2001-01-08/osi-pharmaceuticals-genentech-and-roche-
  23. http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/7947/2004-11-18/ -approves-tarceva-for-patients-with-a
  24. Genentech corporate website: http://www.gene.com/media/product-information/erivedge-development-timeline
  25. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/13827/2012-01-30/fda-approves-erivedge-vismodegib-capsule
  26. Exelixis corporate website: http://ir.exelixis.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=120923&p=irol-newsArticle_pf&ID=945886
  27. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14611/2015-11-10/fda-approves-genentechs-cotellic-cobimet
  28. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/10767/2007-06-26/abbott-and-genentech-announce-global-int
  29. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/abbott-genentech-and-wehi-collaborate-to-research-and-develop-new-anti-cancer-drugs-57302857.html
  30. Genentech press release: http://www.gene.com/media/press-releases/14623/2016-04-11/genentech-announces-fda-grants-venclexta