An icon in the world of targeted cancer therapies, Clay Siegall, is the founder and chief executive officer of Seattle Genetics. The Seattle-based biotech company specializes in the creation of targeted therapy drugs for the diseases that haven’t witnessed significant improvement in mortality rates in decades. Clay Siegall explained a number of things during an interview with INSPIRERY.
Clay Siegall always had interest in medicine and the power that technology has in helping overcome diseases. One of his driving forces was the sincere desire to interfere with the course of nature and help restore health to those who would otherwise have died. He was first interested in cancer treatment when pursuing zoology at the University of Maryland.
One of his family members suffered cancer, and Siegall witnessed how the treatment regimen took a toll on them. The patient developed severe anemia and came to the point of near death – not from cancer, but rather, from chemotherapy. While researching other treatment options, he learned about radical surgery and amputation. There and then he convinced himself that there must be another way out and that is how everything started.
Seattle Genetics generates its revenue through the sale of proprietary drugs. It also earns substantial income from production partnerships and licensing of processes and technologies that it has developed. Seattle Genetics started making profits ten years after its IPO. Just like the majority of ventures, Seattle Genetics experienced a rough patch in 1999 and 2000. The firm was facing a depletion of the operating capital. It is one of those times when Clay Siegall wondered if they would make it through. He attributes the success of the firm to among many other things, the capable sales staff, and the unique products.
Just like Charles Darwin, Clay Siegall believes that humans do not differ in intellect substantially – but in work habits. Sufficient passion for working intensely and focussing are the two critical elements of success. Other factors such as whom you know, the school you attended and IQ are secondary.
About Clay Siegall
A Ph.D. holder, Clay Siegall co-founded Seattle Genetics in 1998. Besides being the CEO, he also serves as the chairman of the board. Before co-founding Seattle Genetics, Clay Siegall worked with National Cancer of Institute and National Institutes of Health (1988-1991) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute (1991-1997).
Clay Siegall is a member of the Boards of Directors of Washington Roundtable, Alder BioPharmaceuticals, and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical. He has received several awards including the Pacific Northwest Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and the University of Maryland Alumnus of the Year in 2013 for the category of computer, math & Natural sciences.