In 1998, Dr. Clay Siegall founded the Seattle based biotech firm called Seattle Genetics. The firm’s focus is the creation of specific therapy drugs that target various diseases. They started out as a small startup company with just a few employees but are now a dominant company in the cancer research field.
Dr. Siegall believes that the old ways of the harsh chemotherapy drugs are going by the wayside. Instead he believes that targeted cancer treatments are the new and improved way to fight cancer because they are more tolerable and effective for patients.
In a recent interview, Dr. Siegall was asked a number of questions about his company. He was asked how he started and what inspired him to start his business. His answer started off simple by saying he was always interested in medicine. He said that the first time he really became interested in cancer research was when a family member got sick; he saw the brutal treatment regimen this family member went through and knew there had to be a better way.
Next he was asked a couple of questions about how his company makes money and how long it took for them to become profitable. In short, his answer was that it took ten years to become profitable; and that they make money by the drugs they sell, partnerships, and by licensing technologies.
Next, Dr. Siegall was asked how he got his first customer and what his marketing strategy is. Simply put his first sale was made by being a salesman. He said that their marketing is pretty simply in that they have dinner meetings that’s are spent negotiating.
Dr. Siegall is a strong leader and helped Seattle Genetics get multiple licenses with companies like Genentech, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. These various licenses have brought in roughly $350 million dollars to date. He has also led the company to several capital-raising activities making them more than $1.2 billion through public and private financing.
Prior to starting Seattle Genetics Dr. Siegall worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institutes of Health. He has won a number of awards that include: University of Maryland Alumnus of the Year for his work in Computer, Math and Natural Sciences; the Pacific Northwest Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year. As if Dr. Siegall isn’t busy enough, he has also written and had published more than 70 articles and has 15 patents.