In an exclusive interview posted on Inspirery, Dr. Clay Siegall, the CEO of Seattle Genetics, explains why he has focused on targeted therapies for cancer. Siegall, who holds a PhD in genetics from George Washington University, co-founded the biotech company to update cancer treatments so that chemotherapy is not so traumatic for cancer patients. Since Seattle Genetics’ first ADC, which targets cancer cells as opposed to both cancer and healthy cells, became FDA-approved, Siegall has generated substantial revenue for company by arranging licensing agreements. They took a risk, said Siegall, since only one out of every ten drugs submitted to the FDA receives their approval. Under Siegall’s leadership, Seattle Genetics is developing a diverse pipeline of ADCs to treat various types of cancer.
When ideamensh interviewed Siegall, he said that his drive came from a desire to help cancer patients because, when he was 19 years old, Siegall saw first hand how few tools oncologists had to treat cancer. He has held positions at the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute before joining Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, which brought Siegall to the Seattle area.
In addition to serving as Seattle Genetics’ CEO, Siegall is the president of the biotechnology company and the chairman of the board. He also lends his extensive pharmaceutical industry experience to the Boards of Directors of Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Mirna Therapeutics and Washington Roundtable.
Siegall has stated that Seattle Genetics will focus on proprietary antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) development; the company wholly owns new ADCs. While Seattle Genetics has collaborated with Abbott, Pfizer, Bayer and other companies, Siegall says, “We will continue to see a lot of partnering, but because we’re a much bigger, stronger company, we’re going to probably spend most of the time developing drugs on our own.”