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A Few “Firsts”

In 1976, the first commercial biotech company Genentech was founded by Herbert Boyer. In 1977, Genentech produced first human protein by E. coli. In 1978, Genentech used the e coli to produce the human form of insulin. And in 1979, Genentech produced human growth hormone. So in three short years, Genentech but our three important campaign biologics. In 1980, Saccharomyces, the bacterial strain was developed to modify the microflora in cow rumens to produce higher protein milk. The same year in 1980, Chakrabarty patented the genetically modified living organism, which is an oil-eating bacteria. Prior to that, living microorganisms are not patentable.
In 1983, Kary Mullis at Cetus invented PCR technique. And this technique has become major means of copying genes and gene fragment. The concept was conceived while Kary Mullis was cruising on the scenic California Pacific Highway. On his way home, and he shared the Nobel Prize with Michael Smith in 1993. And when I was a graduate student at University of California, San Francisco. I also cruised on this scenic Highway a number of times. However, I was never inspired enough to come up with very exotic ideas which would win the Nobel Prize.

As biotechnologies mature, commercial products follow naturally, including human growth hormone, human insulin, and even living organism. In 1983, a revolutionary technique, polymerase chain reaction was invented to amplify or replicate genes for expanded research and discovery.

A few “firsts” were mentioned, including the first commercial biotechnology company (Genentech), first, human growth hormone, first human insulin, and first patented living organism. Further, the discovery of polymerase chain reaction in 1983 by Kary Mullis opens up new horizons for biotechnology research and development.

Have you ever heard Genentech before? Does your country has famous biotechnology company? What products do they provide?

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Pharmacotherapy: Understanding Biotechnology Products

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