Nabil Alhakamy

The Beginning of Biotechnology Companies

السبت - 03 يونيو 2023

Sat - 03 Jun 2023

Dear reader, you may have heard a lot about the term "biotechnology," which is a fascinating field that combines natural sciences and engineering to use living organisms or parts of them to develop innovative products and technologies. It's amazing to think that biological processes have been used for over six thousand years to develop food products that are beneficial to humans, such as bread and cheese, and preserve other food products, such as milk. It's exciting to see how biotechnology is advancing and how it will continue to impact our lives in positive ways.

You may also have heard another term, "biotech," which is an abbreviation for the word "biotechnology." Although the technical meaning of the term is "technology based on living organisms or living cells," the term "biotech" is usually used to refer to a start-up company that uses bioscience to develop new drugs or products. This word can also be used to refer to the industry itself.

Did you know that the biotechnology industry started with a company called "Genentech" in 1976? It was founded by Robert Swanson, a venture capitalist, and Dr. Herbert Boyer, a biochemist, with the goal of using genetic engineering technology to create new drug products. One of their earliest successes was the development of human insulin, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1982 and transformed diabetes treatment. Over the years, the company has introduced many innovative treatments, including the first monoclonal antibody therapy approved for cancer treatment.

Back in 1978, just two years after its founding, Genentech discovered an innovative way to use recombinant DNA technology to prepare the first human insulin. They accomplished this by utilizing the A and B insulin chains expressed in E. coli bacteria. This breakthrough was significant for developing biotechnology companies as a promising science and investment. The production of insulin by bacteria allowed the production of large quantities of insulin with consistent quality, which was crucial as the lack of insulin could lead to the death of many diabetes patients. Before Genentech's discovery, insulin was extracted from the pancreas of cows and pigs, which sometimes caused allergic reactions that could threaten the lives of patients. Before this groundbreaking discovery, people with diabetes had a significantly shorter lifespan. However, thanks to Genentech's innovative production of insulin, there is now almost no difference between a person with diabetes and a healthy person. It's incredible to see how much of an impact one discovery can have on the world.

It's fascinating to learn that Genentech's discovery of human insulin in 1982 marked the beginning of biotechnology companies that have brought hundreds of new and innovative drugs to global markets, benefiting patients around the world. This discovery was a game-changer for the medical industry. The success story of Genentech has inspired many other biotechnology companies to emerge and use genetic engineering, molecular biology, and other technologies to develop drugs, vaccines, and other products that can help improve human health and well-being.

In conclusion, it’s amazing how much progress has been made since the discovery of recombinant DNA technology and the development of the first human insulin. Biotechnology companies are now involved in so many different fields, from genetic engineering to bioinformatics, and they are constantly developing new treatments for diseases and finding ways to improve agricultural productivity and address environmental challenges. It's clear that biotechnology has become an essential part of modern medicine and will continue to shape the future of healthcare and other industries.

Humble Beginnings: The History of Modern BiotechnologyGenentech