After seeing his father suffer and eventually die from cancer as a young boy, Clay Siegall always knew that he would develop drugs to help cancer patients. Several years later, he co-founded Seattle Genetics, an organization that studies and manufactures drugs to be used to treat the disease. In addition to manufacturing the drugs, Seattle Genetics is now making the medication accessible to patients internationally.
Seattle Genetics is marketing the drugs globally; Siegall also made an offer early this year to buy global rights to commercialize another cancer drug manufactured by Immunomedics, a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey. He, however, withdrew the bid after a judge determined that the deal could not close due to an unrelated tussle over control of Immunimedics’ Board.
Seattle Genetics is already making sales
With a market value of almost $10 billion and 900 employees, Seattle Genetics is the largest biotech company in Washington. The organization plans on becoming one of the few biotech companies that became big pharmas by investing in research and marketing. In 2016, Seattle Genetics made $418 million from selling cancer drugs, an increase of 46 % from 2014. Although the company hasn’t yet turned in a profit, its recent successes have increased its valuation by over 50% from last year. Some marketing experts believe that the rising valuation indicates a future buyout, while others believe that Seattle Generic’s heavy investment on studies on several drugs caused the appraisal.
Seattle Genetics focuses on a kind of drug known as antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). These drugs attack antigens by attaching outside cancer cells and delivering a toxin to kill cancer cells without harming the surrounding tissue. This approach drastically reduces damage on healthy tissues that occur during cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. The organization is currently developing 11 cancer drugs; four of them with the most potential to sell immediately. Acedris, one the drugs that Seattle Genetics is currently developing, is used to treat lymph system cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. If studies prove positive, Seattle Genetics could begin selling it soon.
About Clay Siegall
Clay Siegall has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from University of Maryland and a genetics PhD from George Washington University. Before co-founding Seattle Genetics, he served at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, National institute of Health and National Cancer Institute.
Siegall shares his knowledge and experience in research and pharmacy with several pharmaceutical companies. He is a director at Mirna Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that manufactures microRNA-based therapeutics. Dr. Siegall is also a board member of Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc (a company develops drugs for rare diseases) and at Alder Biopharmaceuticals.