Genentech Aggressive Plans Includes Doubling Its Headquarters

Genentech, a pioneer in the field of recombinant DNA technology, is planning to double the size of its current workforce at its South San Francisco headquarters, the company’s home since 1978.

At the 207-acre campus located on 1 DNA Way, the company plans to add 1.6 million square feet to its existing 1.7 million square feet, according to a Master Plan Update presented at a recent Joint Special Meeting of South San Francisco’s City Council and Planning Commission. The plan means Genentech would be doubling its lab space over the next 20 years as well as increasing its workforce from 15,000 to 30,000 workers, including visiting scientists, consultants, and vendors. The updated master plan would make way for up to 9 million square feet of workspace.

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Today, Genentech is the largest of 200 biotech companies in South San Francisco, accounting for more than 40% of the city’s approximate 11.5 million square feet of biopharma building space.

“If we were to reach the full potential buildout outlined in the Master Plan update over the next 20 years or more, we would theoretically have space for an additional 12,000 people working on campus,” said Genentech spokesperson Heather Gloe. “We are seeking long-term opportunity for development within our existing campus footprint, in line with zoning regulations, as determined by future business need.”

However, the company’s officials admit that despite the aspirational proposal they may not reach the total potential buildout outlined under the updated master plan due to zoning regulations and future hindrances.

As Genentech continues to pursue groundbreaking science and making innovative medicines for patients, expansion is necessary. But they plan to do so with city officials, leaders, and the residents of South San Francisco in mind.

In 1976, Robert A. Swanson helped launch the birth of biotech when he co-founded Genentech. Now a member of the Roche Group, the company has been advancing biotechnology for over 40 years by discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines to treat patients with serious medical conditions. Most notably, Genentech created novel DNA sequences allowing them to synthesize human insulin for diabetics in 1982 and create growth hormones for children suffering from hormone deficiencies in 1985.