After Dr. Clay Siegall graduated from high school he attended the University of Maryland. He had a strong interest in animals and so he pursued a degree in zoology. During this time a family member was diagnosed with cancer. He saw first hand that oftentimes the treatment of cancer is pretty crude and can be just as damaging as cancer itself. His family member almost died from the chemotherapy. He decided that there had to be a better way to treat cancer and that he would be part of the solution.
Dr. Clay Siegall went on to attend George Washington University in Washington D.C. He graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in genetics in 1988. His first professional position after graduating was at that National Cancer Institute which is part of the National Institutes of Health. He says that while he worked here, from 1988 to 1991, it was partially an educational experience and partly professional research and development. He says he learned a lot during his three years of working for the federal government.
Bristol-Myers Squibb hired him and he moved to Washington State to work at their Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He worked there until 1997 but he chaffed working in their research and development department. He says that he had two issues, one of which was a lack of autonomy. He also really didn’t like that he had a number of patents but he didn’t personally see anything out of them. The executives of Bristol-Myers made bank off his patents but he saw nothing of any material benefit.
In response, Dr. Clay Siegall partnered with a business associate and launched Seattle Genetics. He chose to stay in the Seattle area and so opened his office in a suburb called Bothell. His company works to cure cancer using antibody drug conjugates which have shown enormous potential in targeting individual cancerous cells while not harming healthy cells at all.
In order to make money, Dr. Clay Siegall says that his company releases their own proprietary drugs. They also license their technology to other companies in order to bring in additional income so that they can continue their research and pay employees.