Seattle Genetics is to Seattle what Wall Street is to New York. It is poised on the brink of being the focal point of Seattle, taking the place of Immunex, which was acquired by Amgen in 2001 and relocated to Thousand Oaks, California. Amgen bought Immunex after it developed the hugely successful arthritis medication, Enbrel. Seattle Genetics is in the process of bringing to market an antibody therapy for cancer. If it proves to be successful, Seattle fears it too will leave their welcoming bosom.
Seattle Genetics is the largest biotech in Washington with $10 billion in market value and 900 employees to which they are expecting to add another 200 staff members by the end of the year. Seattle Genetics’ flagship drug is Adcetris, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that attacks the lymph nodes and through the lymphatic vessels travels wherever the circulatory system travels, consequently the cancer easily spreads throughout the body quickly.
Clay Siegall, the co-founder and CEO of Seattle Genetics states very emphatically that the company is not just a biotech. He makes it clear that Seattle Genetics is already a bona-fide ‘’global, multi-product, oncology company”. Siegall initially sold its international commercial rights to Takeda Oncology to raise money for the development of Adcetris. It learned from their interaction with Takeda and now Seattle Genetics has its own international marketing office in Switzerland.
Clay Siegall’s scientists at Seattle Genetics have focused on developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). ADCs target antigens-protein molecules that forces the immune system to create antibodies. These are transformed antibodies attach to the outside of cancer cells injecting them with a toxin that explodes within the walls of the cancer cell like a bomb. This smart bomb is filled with a cancer killing serum that does not affect healthy cells.
Seattle Genetics has eleven drug in its pipeline, with four drugs including Adcetris which show great promise according to Clay Siegall. Adcetris was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011. If Adcetris is used as a first therapy by medical professionals, Siegall predicts sales could easily reach $1 billion annually.
Clay Siegall co-founded Seattle Genetics in 1998, where he serves as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He received his PhD. in genetics from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in zoology from the University of Maryland. His past positions at the National Cancer Institute in the years 1988 to 1991 followed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute in the years 1991 to 1997 led to his Seattle Genetics venture, which shows nothing but continued success in its near future.