How Seattle Genetics’ Clay Siegall Hopes to Change the World of Cancer Treatment

There is nothing that is more horrifying than a loved one dying from cancer, and being unable to do anything about it. This is the situation that Clay Siegall had to endure when he was a teenager. After his father fought a six-year-long battle with cancer, he finally succumbed, and in his observation, Clay realized that his father had not succumbed to disease itself and that it was the side effects of the chemotherapy that undid him. This is what made him get interested in looking for ADCs as an alternative cancer therapy. Clay, therefore, decided that he was going to study zoology, and after he acquired his bachelor’s degree in zoology, he pursued a Masters and PhD in genetics.

After school, he worked for some companies connected with medical research. There was a time when he was working with the National Cancer Research Institute. In 1998, he decided to consolidate the experience he had gathered and started his research center. He founded Seattle Genetics and has been running it for close to two decades now. Since its inception, Seattle Genetics has been working on the creation of ADCs or antibody-based Cancer therapies. These are therapies aimed at eliminating the need for chemotherapy and radiotherapy in cancer treatment.

The company has had its fair share of ups and downs when trying to change the way cancer treatment is administered. Clay admits that there was a time when their finances were so low that even getting salaries for the coming month for their employees was a challenge. However, he has been carrying out public and private funding campaigns, which has led to massive success. Their partnerships with companies such as GlaxoSmithKline have brought in millions of dollars for the company.

The company held its first IPO in 2001 and had been trading as SGEN on NASDAQ. The first of their ADC, Adcetris was approved by FDA about two years ago and has become one of the most popular antibody-based cancer therapy in the country and beyond. When asked about the way forward for Seattle Genetics, Clay Siegall states that they are not planning or willing to sell out. He added that they expect to have the other treatments that they are still developing receive approval from the FDA. The company has come a long way in the improvement of treatment of cancer, and they are on the verge of transforming it completely.