Genentech: The Beginnings Of Biotech

Paperback | April 8, 2013

bySally Smith Hughes

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In the fall of 1980, Genentech, Inc., a little-known California genetic engineering company, became the overnight darling of Wall Street, raising over $38 million in its initial public stock offering. Lacking marketed products or substantial profit, the firm nonetheless saw its share price escalate from $35 to $89 in the first few minutes of trading, at that point the largest gain in stock market history. Coming at a time of economic recession and declining technological competitiveness in the United States, the event provoked banner headlines and ignited a period of speculative frenzy over biotechnology as a revolutionary means for creating new and better kinds of pharmaceuticals, untold profit, and a possible solution to national economic malaise.
 
Drawing from an unparalleled collection of interviews with early biotech players, Sally Smith Hughes offers the first book-length history of this pioneering company, depicting Genentech’s improbable creation, precarious youth, and ascent to immense prosperity. Hughes provides intimate portraits of the people significant to Genentech’s science and business, including cofounders Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson, and in doing so sheds new light on how personality affects the growth of science. By placing Genentech’s founders, followers, opponents, victims, and beneficiaries in context, Hughes also demonstrates how science interacts with commercial and legal interests and university research, and with government regulation, venture capital, and commercial profits.
 
Integrating the scientific, the corporate, the contextual, and the personal, Genentech tells the story of biotechnology as it is not often told, as a risky and improbable entrepreneurial venture that had to overcome a number of powerful forces working against it.  

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In the fall of 1980, Genentech, Inc., a little-known California genetic engineering company, became the overnight darling of Wall Street, raising over $38 million in its initial public stock offering. Lacking marketed products or substantial profit, the firm nonetheless saw its share price escalate from $35 to $89 in the first few minu...

Sally Smith Hughes is a historian of science at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Virus: A History of the Concept and the creator of an extensive collection of in-depth oral histories on bioscience, biomedicine, and biotechnology.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:April 8, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022604551X

ISBN - 13:9780226045511

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue
Acknowledgments
1/        Inventing Recombinant DNA Technology
            Two Scientists on Converging Paths
            The Collaboration
            Patenting and Politics
            Steps toward Commercialization
2 /        Creating Genentech
            Bob Swanson
            Founding Genentech
            Legal and Political Obstacles
            A Full Business Plan
3 /        Proving the Technology
            A Portentous Experiment
            Switching Targets
            Negotiating Research Agreements
            Making Somatostatin
            Wider Issues   
4 /        Human Insulin: Genentech Makes its Mark
            Seeking Corporate Contracts
            Procuring a Facility and Staff
            Genentech’s Human Insulin Project
            The Eli Lilly Contract
            Publicity and Expansion           
5 /        Human Growth Hormone: Shaping a Commercial Future
            Competing for Human Growth Hormone
            Moving toward Corporate Integration
            Scaling Up Insulin and Growth Hormone
            Corporate Expansion
            An Emerging Culture    
6 /        Wall Street Debut
            Biomania
            Exit Strategies
            Interferon: The New Wonder Drug?
            Run-up to an Initial Public Offering
            Legal Impediments       
            The IPO          
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Oral History Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“My first job out of my postdoc was at Genentech in early 1981. At the time, I had no idea that all those guys in suits were doing something that had never been done before. But I did know the science was amazing—and Bob Swanson was the clear leader in creating an environment that supported that science. Sally Smith Hughes has brought to life the details of what the key players were up to—they weren’t playing it safe, and they created a catalytic environment that generated a whole new industry.”