Genentech is a biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines to treat millions of patients with serious medical conditions. It especially focuses on oncology (cancer), immunology, tissue growth and repair, neuroscience, and infectious diseases.
Genentech was founded in 1976 by Robert A. Swanson and Herbert Boyer. In 2009 the company was purchased by Swiss-based healthcare corporation Roche Group for a reported $47 billion. Genentech’s South San Francisco campus now serves as the US headquarters for Roche’s pharmaceutical operations, while the Genentech Research and Early Development division operates as an independent center within Roche.
There are many opportunities for employees to learn about areas in addition to the one they’re currently working in. Head of Staffing Amanda Valentino told us anyone at Genentech can apply for frequent “internal job postings (beyond) full-time hires that are project-based” and that are generated “across all of the different groups.” These provide “opportunities outside of their regular job (for those) interested in learning cross-funtionally,” and “to take their development in their own hands…and get to experience other parts of the company.”
Valentino also said Genentech has “a very work hard, play hard culture. (Employees) are passionate about their work (and) very intense about that, but by the same token it’s a group of people who really enjoy working together” on a campus that “has a very academic feel.” An example of the latter is “Genentank,” a takeoff on Shark Tank in which “all of our interns…come forward with an idea that they have on something that might make the company better, and at the end someone is chosen as the winner (with) the best idea.”
Valentino recommended those who are hired by her company to “Get involved. We have all kinds of different employee groups. We have ‘ho-hos,’ which are employee happy hours (and) part of our culture…So there’s a way for you to bring your personal passion and your work passion together. My advice is to take advantage of it. Because this becomes your community of people (and) makes your work so much more fun than if you’re just coming into your job and doing your job. It’s completely different when you have a real sense of community. And so coming in and paying attention to that, and taking advantage of the opportunities to be part of that community, really, really makes a difference. It can create a very long, satisfying career for you.”