Dr. Clay Siegall has made perhaps a larger imprint on the world of targeted cancer therapies than anyone else currently alive. He is the founder and CEO of Seattle genetics, a Seattle-based drug company specializing in the development of a special class of targeted cancer therapy drugs called antibody drug conjugates. This cutting-edge new class of drugs promises to reach new heights in the fight against cancer, someday even leading to a potential cure.
Dr. Siegall first became interested in the world of cancer research and drug development while still in college. While still an undergraduate, he decided that he would like to specialize in cancer research. After receiving a doctoral degree from George Washington University, he got his first job working as a medical researcher with the National Cancer Institute.
While at the NCI, Dr. Siegall worked on a team of researchers who are at the forefront in the development of a new class of drugs called targeted cancer therapy. This was a new type of drug that was devised in an effort to ameliorate some of the worst effects of chemotherapy. After working for a few years with the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Siegall was offered a job with the pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.
At his new job, Dr. Siegall led a team of researchers working on a new type of targeted therapy known as antibody drug conjugates. At the time this was an uncharted and totally novel approach to the treatment of cancer. These drugs used antibodies that were synthetically created in an effort to minimize side effects and maximize the chance of successfully attaching to a tumor site. The antibodies were then infused with a cytotoxin, which was bound or conjugated to it. This created a vehicle to deliver extremely potent cytotoxic chemicals directly to the surface of tumor cells.
After working with Bristol-Myers Squibb for a number of years, Dr. Siegall branched out onto his own. In 1998, he founded Seattle genetics, with only a skeleton crew of researchers and a strong work ethic. Within four years he had grown the company and developed a large portfolio of drugs and patented processes.