Genentech's Work Culture and Practices|Human Resource|Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies

Genentech's Work Culture and Practices

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB091
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1976-2006
Organization : Genentech Inc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Pharma & Biotech

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Genentech Recognized Contd...

Genentech was considered to be the pioneer in the biotech industry. The company used human genetic engineering5 to develop treatments for life-threatening diseases in the areas of oncology,6 immunology,7 and tissue disorders. As of 2006, it was the world's second largest biotech company behind Amgen Inc.8 and the leading provider of biotherapeutics9 in the US.

Background

Genentech was founded in 1976 by Robert A. Swanson (Swanson), a venture capitalist, and Dr. Herbert W. Boyer (Boyer), a biochemist. In the early 1970s, Boyer and another geneticist, Stanley Cohen, became the first scientists to develop recombinant DNA technology.10 Swanson approached Boyer in the mid-1970s to explore the commercial potential of genetic engineering, and this led to the formation of Genentech. Genentech's inception was considered to mark the genesis of the biotech industry.11

Prior to the setting up of Genentech, researchers at various universities working on important medical problems were typically against joining business establishments for work.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

They apparently believed that if they did so, their academic careers would be ruined.

(Reportedly, Boyer was also criticized by his colleagues at the University of California in San Francisco for commercializing the recombinant DNA technology.) The eventual success of Genentech, however, put paid to these criticisms, and encouraged other biotech researchers to join commercial ventures.

In 1977, Genentech produced the first human protein (somatostatin) in a microorganism (E. coli bacteria).12 In 1978, the scientists at Genentech cloned the first human insulin. (The rights of this insulin were acquired in 1982 by Eli Lilly and Company13, which had received the FDA's14 approval to market it. The human insulin named 'Humulin' was the first biotechnology therapeutic product to reach the market)...

Excerpts >>


5] Human genetic engineering refers to the controlled modifications of the human genome. Though it is still in its infancy (as of 2006), according to scientists, human genetic engineering would be able to change the physical, cognitive, and emotional capacities of human beings. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org)

6] Human genetic engineering refers to the controlled modifications of the human genome. Though it is still in its infancy (as of 2006), according to scientists, human genetic engineering would be able to change the physical, cognitive, and emotional capacities of human beings. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org)

7] Oncology deals with the study and treatment of cancer.

8] Immunology is a branch of bio-medical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune systems and deals with, among other things, the physiological functioning of the immune system.

9] Amgen Inc. is a biotech company, headquartered at Thousand Oaks in California, US. The company specializes in the field of cellular biology and medicinal chemistry and produces medicines for cancer, nephrology, inflammatory disorders, etc. As of mid-2006, it was the world's largest biotech company with revenues of $13.7 billion. (Source: http://finance.yahoo.com )

10] Biotherapeutics are drugs obtained from a living source, which may be human, animal, or unicellular. Most biotherapeutics are manufactured using biotechnology and are complex mixtures that cannot be easily identified or characterized.

11] Recombinant DNA (rDNA) is artificial DNA, which is formed by combining two other DNA sequences in a plasmid (a molecule separate from the chromosomal molecule and capable of autonomous replication). Boyer and Cohen discovered the rDNA technique to isolate and amplify genes and insert them into another cell with precision. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

12] Brendan Doherty, "History of the Industry," www.baybio.org (Accessed on October 20, 2006).
13] E. coli is one of the main species of bacteria that live in the intestines of mammals.

14] FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration, is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for regulating marketed food, medical and cosmetic products.

 

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