In honor of its 30th anniversary, Genentech, the founder of the biotechnology industry, has announced a landmark gift of $2.5 million to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) to seed the establishment of the Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in CSHL’s historic Carnegie Building, where genetics research began in the United States in 1904.
The expanded facility will house the archival collections of luminaries from the molecular biology revolution, including Nobel laureates James D. Watson, Sydney Brenner, Barbara McClintock, and Hermann Muller.
“Thirty years ago biochemist Herb Boyer and venture capitalist Bob Swanson founded Genentech, the first biotechnology company, and in the process launched a whole new industry. Today biotechnology drives medical innovation and provides therapies for millions of patients worldwide with serious and life-threatening illnesses,” said Richard Scheller, Ph.D., executive vice president of research at Genentech. “We are excited to collaborate with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the birthplace of the genetics research that laid the groundwork for biotechnology, to honor and preserve the history of this groundbreaking science and industry.”
The formation of the Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at CSHL is a vital initiative to preserve and disseminate the history of molecular biology and biotechnology. It will provide space for expanding the Archives to include, in particular, the collections from leaders in biotechnology. It will also contain conference and study space for visiting scholars and graduate students, who will study this history as part of their curriculum at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Watson School of Biological Sciences.
The Center will strengthen the mission of the CSHL Archives, which strives to provide access to unique materials, both physically and via the Internet. “Our goal is to preserve the past using 21st century technology,” said James D. Watson, CSHL Chancellor.
The lead gift from Genentech highlights that the Center will be built by those who have created the history of molecular biology and biotechnology. Additional support is coming from leading scientists and scientific companies who have also played a central role in this history.
Scholarly research within the Genentech Center will focus on an extraordinary period, ensuring that the history of molecular biology and biotechnology — the most exciting contemporary science — is both preserved and made accessible to all.
About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, non-profit research institution with a strong educational mission. Under the leadership of President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), more than 330 scientists at the Laboratory conduct groundbreaking research in cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, and bioinformatics. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is one of the top rated National Cancer Institute-designated research centers in the U.S.
Founded 30 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes biotherapeutics for significant unmet medical needs. A considerable number of the currently approved biotechnology products originated from or are based on Genentech science. Genentech manufactures and commercializes multiple biotechnology products and licenses several additional products to other companies. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
Press are invited to join in a press briefing via teleconference with James Watson and Genentech executives, including Richard Scheller, executive vice president of Research. The press briefing with Q&A will take place from 9:45 to 10:45am PT on Wednesday, April 5. The toll-free dial-in number is: 800-795-1259.