Seattle’s Pharma Godfather, Vaccine Impresario Re-Emerges, Accelerator Gets New Investor & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy Seattle — 

We scored exclusive interviews with a couple of biotech industry leaders this week, and heard their views on some of the most intriguing technologies they see emerging in Seattle and around the world.

—Former Merck research leader Bennett Shapiro, who lives in a waterfront home in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, explained why he thinks life sciences innovation will survive in Seattle. “There are a lot of smart, creative people here that are quite independent, and don’t follow the herd,” he says.

—Todd Patrick, the former president of Vancouver, BC-based ID Biomedical and a resident of Yarrow Point on the Eastside, slipped out of public view after he sold the vaccine developer to GlaxoSmithKline for $1.5 billion in 2005. It turns out that Glaxo dumped one of ID Biomedical’s prime assets, a vaccine for strep throat, and Patrick ended up with it again. He is building a new Memphis-based company, Vaxent, on the technology.

—The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association has hired Chris Rivera, a seasoned sales and marketing executive in the industry, to be the trade group’s new president. He replaces Jack Faris, who is retiring.

—I profiled a volunteer effort at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to attract young up-and-coming businesspeople to start donating to the center early in life. This effort, called the “Innovators Network,” is designed to funnel money into a fund that supports far-out ideas that are promising, but not yet ready to win bigger federal grants. Scott Hutchinson, 32, a commercial real estate developer who is the grandson of the center’s founder, William Hutchinson, is spearheading this effort.

—Accelerator, the Seattle-based startup incubator, nailed another $4.5 million in investment from PPD. This investment will give Accelerator another year’s worth of cash, allow it to fund at least one more startup, and give it new expertise in clinical trials, which it will need as its companies grow.

—H. Stewart Parker cut her last major tie to Seattle-based Targeted Genetics this week, resigning her spot on the board of directors a week after she left her position as the struggling gene therapy company’s CEO. Her board seat is being taken by new CEO Susan Robinson.