Thursday, November 17, 2011

Genentech's early days offer lesson for today's biotechs

We don’t do book reviews at the San Francisco Business Times — but at the risk of my email inbox flooding with requests, I must say that I found Sally Smith Hughes’ new book about the early days of biotech powerhouse Genentech fascinating.
Much of the story has been heard before — your typical boy-meets-technology story — ending up with scientist Herb Boyer and venture capitalist Bob Swanson hooking up to form the South San Francisco company that largely created a new industry and changed the face of drug development.
But there’s an underlying (unintentional?) message in the way Hughes, a historican of science at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, presents the story in the aptly named “Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech.” It’s all about balance.

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