Genentech explores biologics, small molecules

Dow Jones reviews Genentech's research push into small molecule therapies for cancer. That's all been part of the gradual blurring of the lines between biotech companies and their pharma brethren. Genentech's Mike Varney, vice president of small molecule drug discovery, notes that biologics focus on disease targets outside the cell while small molecules can do therapeutic work inside cells. And Genentech--along with other biotech companies--isn't drawing any arbitrary boundaries around their development programs.

"In oncology, 50 percent of the good targets probably reside within the cell," said Varney. "For Genentech to be successful on a long-term basis in the oncology area...excluding all of those intracellular targets would limit our target space and would make it more difficult for us to compete."

- read the Dow Jones article