Clay Siegall is one of the nation’s foremost pharmaceutical researchers. Specializing in the development of antibody drug conjugates, a type of drug that uses synthetic human antibodies to deliver a highly lethal cytotoxin directly to the site of malignant tumors, Dr. Siegall is responsible for the development of some of the most cutting-edge cancer treatments seen since the 1950s. After a career of more than 30 years of developing some of the most innovative cancer treatments in the world, Dr. Siegall now leads his own firm, Seattle Genetics, which is credited with the first ever FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate, ADCetris, for the treatment of refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Dr. Clay Siegall first became interested in cancer research while still attending college. A family member became ill with the disease while Dr. Siegall was still in undergraduate school. At one point, the family member developed severe anemia, nearly leading to their death. This is what made Dr. Siegall realize that there must be a better way to treat cancer than to use drugs that oftentimes have death as a side effect. The brutality and crudeness of standard chemotherapeutics regimens left Dr. Siegall certain that there must be another way to treat this terrible disease.
After receiving a PhD in genetics from George Washington University, Dr. Siegall was hired on by the National Cancer Institute, one of the most prominent cancer research organizations in the world. He worked there for four years, working on an exciting new class of drugs known as targeted cancer therapies. After spending time learning the trade at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Siegall was hired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of the leading private pharmaceutical companies in the world.
While at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Siegall rose to the rank of senior researcher, leading a team of his own scientists that he exclusively dedicated to the research and development of new types of targeted cancer therapy. It was during this time that Dr. Siegall became aware of the possibility of using human antibodies to deliver a highly lethal cytotoxin directly to the site of a malignant tumor. He eventually synthesized prototypical drugs of this type, calling them antibody drug conjugates.
Dr. Siegall immediately realized the enormous commercial potential for this new line of drugs. He eventually left Bristol-Myers Squibb and started his own biotech firm, Seattle Genetics. Seattle Genetics would be exclusively dedicated to the research and development of antibody drug conjugates, focusing on cancer types that had not seen significant mortality improvements in decades.
Today, Seattle Genetics is the only company to have received FDA approval for an antibody drug conjugate. It continues saving thousands of lives each year.