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Posted by John Kokish on

Clay Siegall leads Seattle Genetics to profitability and prominence

Clay Dr. Siegall has distinguished himself as one of the leading researchers in the field of targeted cancer therapies. Prior to founding Seattle Genetics in 1998, Dr. Siegall worked for a variety of research firms concentrating on the development of a new class of targeted therapy drugs called antibody-drug conjugates. Since the inception of Seattle Genetics, Dr. Siegall has gone on to become one of the nation’s premier executives in the cancer research space.


Dr. Siegall first became interested in cancer research while attending the University of Maryland. While getting his degree in zoology, Dr. Siegall had a family member who fell ill with cancer. The treatments of the time led the family member to a near-death experience solely from undergoing the chemotherapy treatment. Dr. Siegall felt there must be a better way than giving people treatments that were often times worse than the disease itself.


This sparked an intense interest in the cancer research field. Dr. Siegall went on to get a doctorate degree from George Washington University in genetics. After that, Dr. Siegall was hired by the National Cancer Institute as a junior research scientist. There he began working on new forms of targeted cancer therapies that showed great promise for the eventual elimination of the current crude chemotherapy regimens the dominated cancer therapy.


After spending a number of years at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Clay Siegall was hired by Bristol-Myers Squibb as a senior research scientist. It was at Bristol-Myers Squibb that Dr. Siegall, for the first time, began working on an entirely new class of targeted cancer therapy drugs called antibody drug conjugates. This new kind of drug uses the immune system’s own antibodies to deliver a highly toxic chemical directly to the site of the tumor. This allows for a dramatic minimization of the systemic release of cytotoxins into the bloodstream. As a result, the therapeutic window or amount of the drug that could be safely given at any one time was dramatically increased, leading to much shorter courses of treatment and more potent and curative effects of the drug.


Today, Dr. Siegall continues as the CEO of Seattle Genetics, leading it into the 21st century.