Clay Siegall; Beating Cancer at its Own Game

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A recent article in the Seattle magazine poses Seattle Genetics as having a market value of nearly $10 billion and employing about 900 workers. It also expects to add another 200 employees this year. With such numbers, it is no doubt that Seattle Genetics is the largest biotech company in Washington.

The company invests a lot in research and marketing which has seen it rise the ranks into a big pharma. The company is also sitting on a goldmine with its flagship drug Adcetris.

The drug treats Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system but can spread to other organs in the body. Tests are underway and when proved positive, the sales would hit the roof.

The drug targets protein molecules that can that cause an immune system to produce antibodies. After attaching to the outside of cancer cells, it then delivers a toxin inside those cells to kill them. Scientists relate to them as “smart bombs” because of their ability to kill cancer cells and not harm the normal tissue. This method reduces potential damage to healthy cells which could be killed during chemotherapy and radiation.

There are other 11 drugs in the company’s pipeline and four of them possess a big potential to be released soon.

Seattle Genetics was founded in 1998 and its world headquarters are located in Bothell’s Cascade Business Park. Its main undertaking has been on studying, manipulating and packaging drugs. This has paid off with steady upward growth that is turning them into a world leader in medicine.

This is articulated by Clay Siegall, the chairman, president, CEO and co-founder who says that “We are an emerging global, multi-product, Oncology Company.”

It is clear that Clay Siegall is a man with a vision. In his professional life preceding Seattle Genetics, he worked with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute from 1991 to 1997. Before that he worked at the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health from 1988 to 1991. Siegall has a PhD in Genetics from George Washington University and a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Maryland.

His focus on cancer has seen him become a member of the Board of Directors at Alder BioPharmaceuticals, a private biotechnology company. In his quest to find a cure for cancer, Siegall says his company is making big strides. His passion is in what he does and states, “I love making drugs. But it’s not easy. It has never been easy. I see the goal but try not to get caught in the ups and downs.”

To achieve such heights of success in a company only 18 years old, Paul is quick to point out that he imitates and admires one Art Levinson. He was one of the founders at Genentech and is currently the chairman of Apple Inc.


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