ARCHIBUS Success Story

“In Pursuit of Excellent Science”

The story of the founding of Genentech, Inc. reads much like the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of. As the Genentech Web site reports it, “In the early 1970's, biochemist Dr. Herbert W. Boyer and geneticist Stanley Cohen pioneered a new scientific field called recombinant DNA technology.

Excited by the breakthrough, venture capitalist Robert A. Swanson placed a call to Boyer and requested a meeting. Boyer agreed to give the young entrepreneur ten minutes of his time. Swanson's enthusiasm for the technology and his faith in its commercial viability was contagious and the meeting extended from ten minutes to three hours: by its conclusion, Genentech was born.” It was 1976, and Genentech had achieved its destiny as the first ever biotechnology company.

Addressing Unmet Medical Needs
Although biotechnology can be said to be at least 10,000 years old, the term itself was coined in 1919 by a Hungarian engineer named Karl Ereky. Early forms of biotechnology include the fermenting of fruit juice into wine, milk to cheese or yogurt, and malt and hops into beer. It is, as defined by the U.S. Government, a technique that uses living organisms to make or modify products.

Recombinant DNA is a branch of biotechnology that concerns itself with the laboratory manipulation of DNA by the splicing or transplantation of the DNA of one species to another. Genentech prides itself on its “pursuit of excellent science” and “high standards of integrity” in utilizing this technology to take “human genetic information to develop, manufacture and market pharmaceuticals that address unmet medical needs.” As “the only biotechnology company to take seven products from the laboratory to the marketplace,” it would seem that the company is fulfilling its mission.

Excellent Science Requires Space
To facilitate the fulfillment of its mission, Genentech opened The Founders Research Center in October, 1992. The largest biotech research facility in the world, it is a 275,000 square foot, $85 million facility. Dedicated to founders Swanson and Boyer and their vision, it houses more than 400 scientists and staff members.

Knowing that excellent science requires quality space, Genentech invested another $37 million into its facilities in 1993 with the expansion of its manufacturing facilities in South San Francisco. 1995 saw the completion of a $58 million, 150,000 square foot laboratory building, the Process Science Center, that houses 170 employees. And, in 1998, Genentech opened a $250 million, 310,000 square foot facility in Vacaville, California, also built to be used for manufacturing. It was this kind of expansion and its implications for the future that led Mark Hutchins, Senior Facilities Planner, at Genentech in South San Francisco, California, and his planning group to seek a new facilities management system.

Growing Pains
The rapid growth of the company from an entrepreneurial firm to a mature organization produced a need for better planning and management tools. Determining how to optimally use facility resources had evolved from intuitive to necessarily strategic. Facilities and project planning had become difficult due to the inaccuracy of the inventory database; each new project inviting doubt and speculation about the database's validity. The decision to convert to a space chargeback system redoubled the need for accurate space inventory data.

A Tool for Strategic Planning and Forecasting
Hutchins reports that the original, homegrown system no longer enjoyed any technical support. Furthermore, the system was not integrated with other systems around the company. Because Genentech's facilities automation information is used primarily for strategic planning purposes, the need for integration was one of the primary criteria in choosing a new system. Hutchins and his planning group decided to interview other corporate departments to learn right up front what their requirements would be. The goal was not to impose changes upon them, but to adapt to them. From their needs were defined a series of criteria, and the core threshed from the optional.

This image illustrates the process of transcription of DNA into RNA and translation into a strand of amino acids. The strand subsequently bends and folds into a protein molecule. Knowledge of these processes is the foundation of the biotechnology industry. (Courtesy the Genentech, Inc. Web site.)

A client/server architecture was necessary, as was compatibility with Oracle and AutoCAD in order for the system to work with other corporate systems. Space allocation data was required, an employee locator, and an Executive Summary capability. A big objective for Hutchins' planning group was the ability to do high-level strategic analysis for planning, forecasting, and benchmarking space use. Armed with these clear guidelines, the Facilities group began a series of informational interviews of outside companies, including ARCHIBUS users Amgen and Roche Bioscience. ARCHIBUS was chosen because it satisfied the primary requirements and because of its customizability and available technical support. It also provides a critical link to the other computer-based planning tools the group uses.

Installation took about eight months. Data was moved over and updated-they conducted numerous user surveys to verify employee locations. Drawings were current and in AutoCAD. Hutchins reports that they have achieved a much greater level of accuracy in their space inventory and that the wide variety of reporting and quick turnaround times have been assets, but anticipates the major payoffs have yet to be realized. Integration with other systems has been key and the most exciting benefit because they can access existing databases, sharing information with Finance, executive management in manufacturing and production, Human Resources and Security. Once they have ARCHIBUS on the Web, they'll be able to share information with other users.

Vital Statistics

Genentech, Inc.
South San Francisco, CA
Facilities Facts:
28 buildings (all ARCHIBUS managed)
3,600,000 sq. ft.
3,500 employees
ARCHIBUS Applications:
Space Management
Real Property & Lease Management
Impetus for Implementation:
Rapid expansion required better planning and management tools; conversion to a space chargeback system demanded more accurate space tracking; needed to integrate with other Oracle-based systems.
Benefits Gained:
Much higher level of accuracy in space inventory; easily-generated building analysis reports; improved facility forecasting and demand/capacity model; greater confidence by management in accuracy of space inventory.
Future Plans:
Expansion of ARCHIBUS onto Intranet; possible addition of Furniture & Equipment application.
Business Partner:
Unisource Technologies, Inc
Web Site:
©2005 ARCHIBUS, Inc.18 Tremont St.Boston, MA 02108   USATel: 1