Genentech insists it hasn't lost its R&D mojo

Roche's battle to preserve and protect Genentech's research culture includes a full court press to convince BusinessWeek that the pharma giant is doing everything in its power to sustain an R&D culture with a stellar track record. That means everything from an independent budget to a commitment to maintain review Wednesdays for presentations to management and those relaxed after-work parties on Friday.

"We have a budget and a completely independent [drug] portfolio that we manage, irrespective of the rest of Roche," Richard Scheller, Genentech's head of research, tells the magazine. Researchers in Basel, Switzerland and South San Francisco are being encouraged to stay independent, in marked contrast to the radical restructuring underway at Pfizer. And Scheller says that Roche's approach is making it easier to push new drug programs with diagnostic tests. "Now there's no intellectual-property discussion, there's no negotiation--we're the same!" Scheller says. "You wouldn't believe how much easier it is."

There are no discouraging words of doubts or behind-the-scenes drama to mar the picture presented in the magazine. Not even a mention of the departure of top execs like Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann or Roche's efforts to streamline costs in South San Francisco. Whatever is happening inside Genentech, it can check off its latest high profile close-up as a clear PR win.

- read the article in BusinessWeek