Clay Siegall is the founder and CEO of Seattle Genetics, a firm dedicated to the development of new drugs in the fight against cancer. Since 1998, Dr. Clay Siegall has led the firm to the development of the world’s first FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate, ADCetris. Today, the company holds over 20 patents and has eight drugs currently in the development pipeline.
I want a new drug
Dr. Siegall founded Seattle Genetics in 1998 shortly after leaving a senior research post at Bristol-Myers Squibb. At the start, he had a little more than a small staff of researchers and a thin budget. By 2001, Siegall was ready to lead the company in its IPO. This event, the largest biotech IPO in history, raised over $1.2 billion and infused Seattle Genetics with sufficient capital to continue on their mission to develop new and innovative drugs in the fight against cancer.
Over the next decade, the firm developed a number of patented processes and novel drugs that would go on to become staples in various areas of cancer treatment. In 2011, ADCetris, an antibody drug conjugate, became the first drug of its kind to be approved by the FDA for use in actual treatment of cancer patients. The drug was initially approved for use in refractory cases of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but it is now being considered for a wide range of other possible diseases.
Seattle Genetics currently has eight drugs in the development pipeline. Dr. Siegall hopes that these drugs will prove effective across a wide array of cancer types. With the proven success of ADCetris, Dr. Siegall is confident that these new drugs in development will soon be FDA-approved and on the shelf within the next 5 to 10 years.
The potential of this class of drugs almost cannot be overstated. Because of their ability to target only malignant tissue, antibody drug conjugates have the potential to become a cure for many types of cancer. This is due to the property that these drugs do not systemically release cytotoxic agents. It is the systemic release of cytotoxins that caused the horrendous side effects of chemotherapy. By eliminating this problem, antibody drug conjugates promised to radically increase the therapeutic window available to fight malignant tissue. This may allow total destruction of the malignancy and just one course of treatment.