September 23 2017

Clay Siegall is major force in application of precision medicine to cancer

One of the most important trends in medical developments over the last 30 years has been that of precision medicine. Precision medicine promises to bring the ability of technology, such as means of targeting diseases at the molecular level and the use of genomic sequencing to directly target disease organisms, to almost all disease processes that exist.

Nowhere is this more promising than in the area of cancer research. Since the 1990s, so-called targeted cancer therapies have been all the rave within the cancer research space. Among the biggest names in targeted cancer therapy development, one man stands out. Clay Siegall has been at the forefront of the development of various types of targeted cancer therapy since his days as a senior researcher at pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. There, Dr. Siegall led a team of researchers that first synthesized a highly innovative form of targeted cancer therapy known as antibody drug conjugates. These are a class of drugs that use synthetic human antibodies as a means to deliver extremely lethal cytotoxins directly to the site of malignant tissues, thereby completely circumventing the need to release large amounts of dangerous poisons into the bloodstream. This has the promise of completely eliminating the horrific side effects long associated with traditional chemotherapy.

In 1998, Dr. Siegall left Bristol-Myers Squibb and founded his own company, Seattle Genetics. The firm is dedicated solely to the production and development of antibody drug conjugates. The company had its first fully FDA-approved drug sanctioned by that organization in 2011. ADCetris is approved for treatment of refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a potentially fatal form of cancer does affects up to 500,000 people at any given time in the United States.

Under Dr. Siegall’s leadership, the company has also continued to develop many other drugs to treat different forms of cancer. Dr. Siegall believes that the firm will receive further FDA approval on up to a dozen new drugs or the next five years, waiting to the potential widespread acceptance of antibody drug conjugates in the cancer treatment marketplace.

Dr. Clay Siegall has also overseen the leasing out of many forms of intellectual property involved the synthesis of antibody drug conjugates.

 

September 17 2017

Clay Siegall grows Seattle Genetics from nothing into dominant biotech firm

Over the last 20 years, Seattle Genetics has become one of the leading biotech firms in the United States. After having been founded in 1998 by its famous co-founder, Clay Siegall, the firm has grown from just a few staff members into one of the leading producers of antibody drug conjugates in the country today. This remarkable transformation has been largely attributable to Dr. Siegall’s strong leadership and sagacious vision, leading the company on to become the first biotech firm to get an FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate to market.

But it wasn’t always an easy road. After leaving Bristol-Myers Squibb as a senior researcher, Dr. Siegall decided to strike out on his own, founding Seattle Genetics as a means to focus solely on the creation of new antibody drug conjugates. While working at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Siegall had led a team that was doing revolutionary work in the development of antibody drug conjugates and the means by which they can be created. But he felt that he was not being granted enough leeway and a large enough budget to continue making serious inroads into this exciting new line of cancer treatment.

For this reason, he decided to found Seattle Genetics. But the first few years were not easy. With only a couple million dollars in venture capital, the firm quickly began running through all of its operating budget. By 2001, the company had reached a point where it needed to make a decision. Either more capital would need to be raised or the company would need to be shut down.

Dr. Clay Siegall rose to the occasion. By assembling one of the best legal teams in the business, he was able to eventually list the company on the New York stock exchange. This represented one of the most successful IPOs of a biotech firm in the history of the markets. Raising over $1.2 billion, Seattle Genetics suddenly found itself with sufficient capital to continue carrying out research and development efforts well into the future.

By 2011, the company had received full FDA approval on its antibody drug conjugate called ADCetris. This was the first fully approved antibody drug conjugate in history, resulting in saving thousands of lives and proving the concept of antibody drug conjugates in general.