Science & TechnologyGenentech Process Science Center

Genentech : Process Science CenterGenentech : Process Science Center


The Genentech Process Sciences Center serves as the centerpiece of the lower campus. It centralizes the process science groups in one building that includes chromatography labs, wet and dry labs, a pilot plant, and the management group. The facility accommodates teams working on multiple projects simultaneously, and handles experiments up to the 2,000-litre scale. Laboratory flexibility is achieved through custom designed casework with fixed utility spines. Specially designed chromatography carts were tested in a laboratory mock-up where users were invited to give input on development of the casework concept. By streamlining the process of research and development, Genentech's new facilities allow scientists to maximize their efforts and minimize the time required to put new discoveries to practical use. The building was planned as an integrated whole - to interconnect on the working level, among teams, and with other buildings on the campus. Wide corridors for circulation, interconnecting stairs, useable spaces for spontaneous work sessions that draw people to them because of their views, and the espresso bar are all instrumental in achieving the type of interaction representative of the Genentech culture. Genentech wanted to use office location to stimulate interaction among scientists. Within a laboratory neighborhood everyone has an office outside of the lab, but within 60 feet of the lab - an arrangement that ensures efficiency, while also encouraging interaction

Streamlining research & development

R&D Magazine Lab of the Year, High Honors

Exploring uncharted territory. Building on important collaborations. Persevering where others have failed. These are the principles that guide Genentech.

In 1976, Herb Boyer and Bob Swanson sat down over a couple of beers, scratched some notes on the back of an envelope and imagined a company that would change the course of medicine. At the forefront of revolutionary science, they discussed using recombinant DNA technology to produce new medical treatments. Today Genentech has grown to 11,000 employees, all focused on drug discovery efforts to develop safer and more effective therapies for life-threatening illnesses.

When the company needed a new facility, Genentech imagined a center unlike any other in the industry. They combined labs and the pilot plant, bridging the gap between research, testing, and manufacturing. By locating all of these diverse professionals in one building, Genentech significantly enhanced communication and collaboration among scientists and shortened the time needed to bring new products to market.

This innovation has not only won awards. It has made a dramatic impact on those who suffer from cancer, cystic fibrosis, asthma, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

Location: San Francisco, California


"After one day of program meetings, we knew we had to reexamine everything that the word "laboratory" meant to us... the lab size, how analytical equipment was supported, the furniture, even whether furniture was needed at all. What we discovered was that we needed to create new spaces to house functions unique to the biotechnology development process, as well as rethink the whole concept of how lab furniture performs in today's laboratories."

 John Sungformer DirectorProject Engineering