Seattle Genetics Releasing Innovative, New Kinds of Cancer Drugs

One of the drug companies operating in the Seattle and Puget Sound region is Seattle Genetics (Nasdaq: SGEN). Besides the drug Adcetris which it currently sells to fight lymphomas, it is developing another 12 drugs for other kinds of cancer. It has one it hopes to put in Phase 3 trials by the end of the year to combat myeloid leukemia. One other is for breast cancer and two more are for bladder cancer.

Besides that, Adcetris is in Phase 3 trials to expand its use to newly discovered Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s in 70 trials for various kinds of lymphomas. Adcetris already brings in $226 million from sales in Canada and the United States. And its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical sells it in other markets around the world. That’s a total of 47 according to CEO and founder Clay B. Siegall in this YouTube video.

Siegall founded Seattle Genetics in 1998. Since then it’s hired an average of 100 people per year. They have an office in Switzerland as well as Puget Sound, and he stresses they have room for many more people because they’re looking to expand their operations.

Seattle Genetics is making use of an innovative approach to fighting cancer. Normal chemotherapy drugs are concentrated poisons that kill both cancer cells and ordinary cells that are dividing. That toxicity causes the bad reactions that everybody has heard of chemotherapy causing. What’s worse, although it kills a lot of cancer, some cancer cells survive. Therefore, companies have worked on ways of manufacturing drugs that poison only cancer. Monoclonal antibodies show promise of doing that. Antibodies are part of our immune system, so they target undesireable items in our bodies such as cancer cells. However, they cannot kill the cancer cells. Siegall is working on ways of using antibody conjugate therapies to deliver poison to cancer cells, and only cancer cells.

Siegall performed his post-doctoral work at the National Cancer Institute of Bethesda Maryland, where he worked on targeted cancer therapies. then joined Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He worked with monoclonal antibodies at Bristol-Myers until they decided it was too difficult, and they shut it down. He started Seattle Genetics to keep working on antibody therapies.