As scientist and educator, I think about the future of biomedical science and the people we train for careers in this area. Biotechnology is a very important part of that future. It is the child of a generation of scientists and businesspeople, and I am deeply interested in how this industry goes about fulfilling its promise in the coming years.

The first biotech company--Genentech Inc.--was casually conceived in 1976 by Herbert Boyer, a University of California, San Francisco, biologist, and Robert Swanson, a member of a West Coast venture capital firm, while they were discussing, over a beer, the uses of recombinant DNA technology. Boyer presumably was excited by the prospect that this science could be used to improve the condition of mankind and provide meaningful employment to people.

In 1976, it was not clear how to translate the new technology into its useful roles. But Genentech provided the model...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!