"The few, the proud, the profitable" could be Genentech's motto. One of the world's oldest and most successful biotechs (in an industry full of money-losers), the firm has a number of blockbuster cancer therapies based on its antibody (protein) technologies. Its oncology portfolio contains Rituxan (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), Avastin (colorectal and lung cancers), Herceptin (breast cancer), Tarceva (lung cancer), Xeloda (metastatic colorectal cancer), and Zelboraf (inoperable melanoma). Other marketed drugs include age-related macular degeneration treatment Lucentis, human growth hormone Nutropin, cystic fibrosis drug Pulmozyme, and asthma drug Xolair. Genentech is wholly owned by Swiss pharma powerhouse
Roche's control of Genentech places the larger drugmaker in the fast lane of biopharmaceuticals. Roche depends on Genentech's creative and successful research organization to keep its drug pipeline full of promising new biotech drugs, thus relieving stress from patent-expiration pressures in its existing product lineup.
Genentech's San Francisco office is now the primary administrative and marketing headquarters for Roche in the US and has taken over US sales efforts for Roche products including Tamiflu (influenza), Pegasys (hepatitis), CellCept (transplants), and Xeloda (colorectal cancer).
As of mid-2015, the company had some 1,200 researchers and scientists and 125 postdocs. It also had 35 medicines on the market and nearly 20 more ADC's in its pipeline, which included its Alectinib, Anti-OX40 Mab, and antibody drug conjugate.
The company serves as the US headquarters for its parent, Roche. Genentech has offices three offices in California along with single offices in Oregon and Kentucky.
Sales and Marketing
The company's products are distributed through wholesalers including
. In international markets its products are primarily marketed through parent Roche's global sales force and distribution network.
Instead of acquisitions, Genentech has traditionally relied on internal efforts (often with research partners) to develop and commercialize new drugs, and this strategy has remained in place following the Roche takeover. More than half of its commercial product sales, as well as a majority of development projects, relate to oncology. The company's development-stage pharmaceuticals in clinical trials include personalized medicines for treating various cancers, including skin cancers and breast cancer, and such ailments as lupus, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Genentech has development partnerships with a number of firms including
(cancers), NovImmune (autoimmune diseases), and Adimab (antibody studies).
In 2014, the company submitted a new drug application to the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment (in combination with Zelboraf) of BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma. That year, the company also had its Esbriet treatment approved for use on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the US. It also had its Avastin product approved in combination with chemotherapy for the women's treatment of platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer. Additionally in 2014, the company partnered with
NewLink Genetics Corporation
to discover and develop small-molecule IDO pathway inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.
In 2012, the company received FDA approval for another promising new personalized breast cancer drug, Perjeta, which is a combination drug used alongside Herceptin and traditional cancer drug docetaxel; it also launched is Erivedge drug for advanced cases of basal cell carcinoma.
While its long-term success depends on its ability to develop novel compounds (especially as older drugs lose patent protection), Genentech is also seeking shorter-term success by boosting commercialization efforts for existing top sellers, including Avastin, Rituxan (known internationally as MabThera), and Lucentis. Part of the company's success comes from its efforts to expand the number of approved uses of its marketed drugs. For example, in 2012 Lucentis was approved for the additional indication of diabetic macular edema treatment
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 Genentech agreed to pay up to $1.7 billion for fellow American biotech firm Seragon Pharmaceuticals. Seragon focuses on small-molecule drugs that treat a certain type of breast cancer; its lead candidate is in phase 1 clinical trials.
Roche, which previously owned a majority stake in Genentech, made the company a wholly owned subsidiary in 2009 when it purchased the 44% of Genentech that it did not already own for about $47 billion. Through its 33% stake in Roche,
is an indirect shareholder in Genentech. Novartis holds international licensing rights for Xolair and Lucentis (Genentech holds commercial rights in the US).
Since taking full ownership of Genentech (previously a majority-owned subsidiary) in 2009, Roche has cut expenses by combining the two companies' global manufacturing and supply networks and by integrating the research, marketing, and administrative operations in the US, while at the same time working to maintain Genentech's innovative identity and culture.