Clay Siegall: The Man Behind Seattle Genetics

Clay Siegall is one of the top authorities in the drug development industry. He’s the founder and CEO of Seattle Genetics. And he holds a zoology degree from the University of Maryland and a genetics Ph.D. from George Washington University. He’s also a man on a mission.

When Siegall was in college, a family member developed cancer. His watched as one of his loved ones struggled to fight off one of nature’s curses. The truly appalling thing wasn’t the cancer, it was the brutal treatment used to fight cancer. The family nearly died from their chemotherapy regimen.

After losing that family member, Siegall began wondering if there was a better way. All the other treatment options for that type of cancer at that time involved radical surgery or amputation. The loss of a loved one combined with his lifelong interest in medicine and technology inspired Clay Siegall to join the drug development industry.

Unfortunately, his introduction to the industry was ruined by Bristol. The company focused more on big profits rather than development efficient drugs. They limited Siegall’s autonomy on projects and overall disrespected his efforts. Even as a senior researcher, Siegall wasn’t getting the work done that he wanted.

Worst of all, the company used researchers like Siegall to boost the company’s patent portfolio. Some of those patents grossed $80 million and Siegall was never paid more than his average paycheck. The lack of financial fairness and recognition drove Siegall away from Bristol.

In 1998, he founded Seattle Genetics. He was a better boss to himself and all those who joined him. When he started, he worked with a skeleton crew. Now, Seattle Genetics is at the top of the targeted therapy industry. It’s also one of the most respected names in the industry.

Within the first couple of years, Dr. Siegall led his team to develop the first FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate (ADC). ADC gave way to a robust pipeline of drugs and strategic partnerships. Each drug developed has its own numerous approved indications.