How Clay Siegall Built Seattle Genetics From A Skeleton Crew To A 900 Person Business

While Clay Siegall started out in research and development his dream was to manage his own biotech firm. This happened in 1998 after he had been in the healthcare industry for nine years. His company is called Seattle Genetics, Inc. He is the chairman, president, and CEO. Seattle Genetics is headquartered in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, called Bothell. It can be found in Cascade Business Park which is on the north end of town. While the buildings that house his company are somewhat nondescript what goes on inside is amazing.

Seattle Genetics uses human antibodies to come up with cures for diseases. So far the focus of this company is on cancer but they could branch out into other diseases as well going forward. When an antibody comes into contact with a cancerous cell it destroys it be delivering a payload of toxicity. The great thing about this is that, unlike radiation or chemotherapy, healthy cells are not destroyed.

Since Clay Siegall co-founded Seattle Genetics it has grown into what is now the biggest biotech firm in the state of Washington. It is now a publically traded company which is worth almost $10 billion. It employs 900 people in the greater Seattle area. Siegall says that his eventual goal is to turn his company into a big pharma firm. He invests a great deal into research in various drugs under trial and he says he plans to hire 200 more people before the end of 2018.

Clay Siegall, who has a Ph.D. in genetics and a bachelor’s in zoology, first started his career at the National Cancer Institute which is part of the National Institutes of Health. As this is a federal agency he said his time there was partly educational in nature and partly r&d. His three years of experience there led to him taking a job offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb. They wanted him to move across the country to Seattle where they ad their Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He worked there for six years but he chafed under the red tape and bureaucracy they had there. He also didn’t like it that it was the executives of the company who profited from the patents he had created and he saw no monetary benefit at all. That was when he decided to get together a skeleton crew and start Seattle Genetics which he would build the way he thought a company should be built.