Although he is not a household name, Clay Siegall is one of the most important figures in modern cancer research today. After a career spanning more than three decades, Clay Siegall has become widely known as one of the founders in the field of cancer therapy known as antibody drug conjugates. This novel approach to the treatment of old forms of cancer that had not seen significant improvements in mortality over the preceding decades has led to phenomenal breakthroughs in the field. Today, antibody drug conjugates are a major part of second-line treatment for a wide variety of different cancer subtypes.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the man who would go on to invent one of the most important advances in cancer therapy of the last century. While at pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Siegall found it increasingly difficult to pursue the lines of research that he wanted to. At the same time, the company was largely uninterested in disrupting its own markets. This meant that the disruptive cancer-fighting technologies that Dr. Siegall was developing were not a top priority for the company to bring to market.
As a result, Dr. Siegall founded his own company in 1998. On what amounts to a shoestring budget for such a massive undertaking, Dr. Siegall began operations with only a few other researchers that he had recruited away from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Facing bankruptcy in the year 1999, Dr. Siegall was just barely able to squeak by, getting a number of last-minute bridge loans from people who truly believe in the project that he was pursuing.
But a 2001 IPO allowed to company to raise over $1.2 billion. Ever since, Seattle Genetics, the company that Dr. Siegall founded, has been one of the major players in the target of cancer therapy research and development space. The company currently has more than 12 products in the development pipeline, and it is involved in many different partnerships with some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Siegall continues to prove that his vision had both merit and the ability to save lives. In doing so, he has become one of the undisputed champions of the targeted cancer therapy industry.