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Smithsonian Explores Beginnings of Biotechnology
Date:10/24/2013

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History chronicles the story of biotechnology and its impact on society in a new showcase display, "The Birth of Biotech," which opens Oct. 25. The display, located in a first floor History Highlights Case, will explore the science and industry behind the first major product of the biotech boom—recombinant human insulin. Made by genetically modified bacteria, recombinant human insulin provided a steady source of a vital diabetes drug, which replaced a less certain supply of animal-derived insulin. The display features lab and factory equipment from Genentech initially used to produce recombinant human insulin as well as historic objects used for managing and treating diabetes from the 1930s to the 1980s.

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"The story of biotechnology inspires the type of critical and inventive thinking that has allowed Americans to excel in emerging technologies throughout the nation's history," said Museum Director John Gray. "The museum helps visitors to understand these past advances as a foundation for future progress."

The museum began collecting biotech history in the 1980s, a collection that now includes more than 130 objects from Genentech.

"At Genentech, we are pleased to have been a spark that helped ignite the biotechnology industry nearly 40 years ago and are honored that the Smithsonian has so thoughtfully curated these artifacts to share with the American people," said Ian Clark, CEO of Genentech. "While our industry is young in comparison to many, biotechnology's innovations are significant. The industry collectively has helped millions of patients through more than 200 new medicines to treat a wide range of diseases includ
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SOURCE Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
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