[Editor's note: On Oct. 14, 1980, a small San Francisco startup firm, a company that had yet to produce a single product, cornered the imagination and captured the deep pockets of Wall Street with a dazzling new concept - biotechnology. The company, Genentech Inc., was the creation of Robert Swanson, a venture capitalist, and Herbert Boyer, a biochemist who along with a colleague had been the first to extract a gene from one organism and successfully implant it in another. Investors liked this idea of gene splicing. In fact, they loved it - so much that within 30 minutes after the stock market opened, the cash-hungry young company, which had elected to sell a million shares of stock at $35 a piece, had sold out. By the end of the day, Genentech's stock would make market history by hitting a high of $89, a record for an initial public...

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