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Innovation in Seattle Biotech Industry With CEO Dr. Clay Siegall

The headquarters for Seattle Genetics sits at top of Bothell’s Cascade Business Park. A green triangular-like sculpture in Building Three’s lobby is a simplified human antibody model. Seattle Genetics have been studying and packaging these antibodies into pharmaceutical drugs since 1998. The company’s focus on antibodies is combined with plans to branch into therapy, in particular, cancer treatment therapies because of the antibody’s ability to destroy cancer cells. Many hope for the Seattle Genetics’ success to stabilize the growing biotech community in Seattle, as well as to keep their headquarters stationed in Seattle. Seattle Genetics has 900 employees, with 200 more expected to be added this year, and almost $10 billion in market value. The company invests mainly in research and ranks among the largest in Washington’s biotech industry as they venture into pharmaceuticals.

Adcetris, one of the company’s cornerstones, is a drug to treat Hodgkin lymphoma, and is expected to have great success on the market as their extensive test prove to have positive results. “We are an emerging global, multi-product, oncology company,” Seattle Genetics’ president, CEO, and co-founder Dr. Clay Siegall announced in an interview. He plans on expanding their company as the company’s team produces a big inventory of pharmaceutical drugs in the works. Dr. Siegall also wishes to turn toward handling international promotion of Seattle Genetics’ newer products. This is unlike the company’s earlier years when they had sold the advertising rights to Takeda Oncology to increase financial resources for Adcetris research. Dr. Siegall took that opportunity to learn more about global markets, and opened another office in Switzerland for Seattle Genetics to handle its own international promotion.

Even though the company hasn’t made a profit, the sales for Seattle Genetics’ rose 46% from 2014 with $418 million in 2016, and it’s stock prices have tripled to $66 per share in the last five years. The company increased their research budget to $376 million and their current accomplishments have boosted the company’s valuation over 50%. Seattle Genetics main focus is on ADC which target antigens. These antibody-drug conjugates attach to the surface of cancer cells in diseases like Hodgkin lymphoma delivering a toxin to those cells without harming normal tissue. Therefore, scientists nickname ADC as “smart bombs” for reducing the damage that can normally occur to healthy cells during conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

“I love making drugs. But it’s not easy. It has never been easy,” Dr. Siegall said in an interview. “I see the goal but try not to get caught in the ups and downs.” Clay Siegall admires Genentech’s founder and Apple Inc’s chairman Art Levinson as a rolemodel for Seattle Genetics. Thus, not following the example of ordinary biotech companies by only placing bets on one or two drugs. Dr. Siegall sees the largest immediate sales for 4 of the 11 drugs his company have in the works including Adcetris which could reach an estimated sales of $1 billion. It has been approved by the FDA to be used third-in-line for Hodgkin lymphoma patients. The company has also been researching another marketing strategy to use Adcetris in conjunction with more recent immunotherapies such as Opdivo. Other pharmaceuticals for estimated success include 33A which aims at AML, 22ME which targets bladder and other urothelial cancers, and LIV1 for breast cancer.

Dr. Clay Siegall is a co-founder for Seattle Genetics which was developed in 1998. Dr. Siegall authored over 70 publications and is a holder of 15 patents. He graduated from University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Zoology, and George Washington University with a Ph.D in Genetics. Dr. Siegall is on the Board of Directors for Alder BioPharmaceuticals.

Before founding Seattle Genetics, Dr. Siegall worked for National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health from 1988 to 1991. From 1991 to 1997, he worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Dr. Clay Siegall is a director for Mirna Therapeutics. Both biotech companies are privately-owned.


This entry was posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017 || . ||