Seattle Genetics is a company that has been around for a while. It was founded in 1998 by Clay Siegall together with a colleague. Clay states that he founded the company because of his passion and ambition to treat cancer using antibody therapy. For the past two decades, the company has been laying down strategies and coming up with drugs, but they haven’t been successful with their FDA trials. The tides changed for them in 2016 when Adcetris, their flagship drug was approved for the treatment of different types of lymphomas. The company has since moved from an ambitious little business outfit to one of the most profitable Biotechs in Seattle. With an asset base of more than $10 billion, the company is going places.
Clay confides that things haven’t always been easy with Seattle Genetics. He confesses that there was a time that things were so rough that they depended completely on donor funds to pay their staff and that there were times he wasn’t even sure where the funds to make these payments would come from. He states that it is his resilience and ambition during these rough times that have led to his current success. Clay adds that even the most ambitious and determined leaders need an equally dedicated team if they are going to succeed when things are rough.
The fortunes changed for Seattle Genetics when Adcetris was approved for use by the FDA. The drug has since sold more than a million dollars. The drug is now approved for sales in more than 60 countries. Many people expect that after making it with one drug, the clinical trials company will sell out to Pharma giants and leave Seattle, but Clay admits that he has other plans for Seattle Genetics. He confides that they have more than 11 other drugs that they are working on with the hope of getting FDA approval. In short, Seattle Genetics is here to stay, and they are ready to make all the necessary sacrifices to ensure that this happens.
There was a time when they had given the responsibility of international distribution of their drug to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, but the fact that they have taken back that responsibility is further proving that they are prepared to take their research to the next level. The determination, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of Clay Siegall have brought the company this far, and it will keep getting better.