Seattle Genetics Breaks Ground With A Radically New Cancer Therapy

In 1998 Dr. Clay Siegall, Ph.D. Co-founded the company Seattle Genetics. Prior to this, he had over 20 years of experience in cancer research and curative pharmaceutical development. Prior to co-founding Seattle Genetics, Dr. Siegall worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute from 1991-1997 and the National Cancer Institute. He also worked at the National Institutes of Health from 1988 until 1991. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of Alder BioPharmaceuticals and Mirna Therapeutics. Mirma Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company which is developing a broad number of microRNA-based oncology drugs. Alder BioPharmaceuticals is discovering, developing and commercializing therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of current diseases. Their newest find is a drug designated as ALD403. ALD403 is currently in a 2b clinical study that has produced preliminary findings showing that the new drug eliminated migraine episodes in patients with chronic migraine headaches.

Seattle Genetics, the company co-founded by Dr.  Clay Siegall, is in the business of developing and commercializing new antibody-based drug therapies for the treatment of cancers. The company’s antibody-drug-conjugate or ADC technology is helping to produce proprietary monoclonal antibodies specific for a tumor associated antigen. In addition, it also produces a synthetic cell killing agent designed to securely bind the agent to the antibody which is then released into the targeted cell. This approach to cancer treatment is completely different than the treatments in use today. Today cancer treatments generally use the shotgun approach. A patient is given chemotherapy that attacks all the cells in the body regardless if they are cancerous or healthy. The object in this approach is to give enough of the drug to kill cancer without killing the patient. With the new approach being pioneered by Seattle Genetics, only the cells that are cancerous are attacked, healthy cells are untouched.

The first cancer treatment they are targeting is for Hodgkin lymphoma. ADCETRIS is Seattle Genetics lead product for this cancer and has been developed in conjunction with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. ADCETRIS is one of the first of a new class of antibody-drug-conjugated that has been approved globally in more than sixty countries for the treatment of relapsed classic Hodgkin lymphoma. They are also advancing another ADC in a phase three trial for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.


Leave a Reply