Herb Boyer co-founded Genentech in 1976 with Bob Swanson, a venture capitalist. With a few hundred square feet of space in a warehouse in South San Francisco, Herb and Bob not only started a successful company but also created the biotechnology industry.
A biochemist and genetic engineer, Herb first demonstrated the usefulness of recombinant DNA technology to produce commercial medicines, which laid the groundwork for Genentech's success. Herb was a vice president of the company from 1976 to 1990 and served for many years on the company’s Board of Directors. In addition to his role at Genentech, Herb was a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Herb and Bob were deliberate in creating a workplace culture that enabled people to do their best work. They set high goals, hired the very best people and gave them freedom and flexibility to accomplish more than they set out to. They combined the best of academia and industry to form a company where people could have fun while doing the hard but important work of discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines that make a difference for patients.