Dendreon, Resisting Urge to Sell, Eyes Opportunity to Be Seattle’s Next Immunex

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as Gold in the lead role. I take Gold seriously when he says he wants to build Dendreon into a regional anchor, because it’s something he has repeated to me virtually since the day he got the top job.

The “sell it, or build it” question matters for shareholders who want to fatten up their portfolios, but it’s also of great importance to Seattle biotech, which has a number of intriguing biotech companies developing products, but nobody with the kind of commercial mass that comes from having a product with $1 billion annual sales potential like Dendreon. If Gold sells the company, that will have consequences for the community as it tries to regain its biotech mojo. So I asked him about how big of an impact his company can really have on the local landscape, and whether it might someday grow into a regional anchor like Boston has with Biogen Idec and Genzyme. Dendreon only has about 200 employees now.

“We’re going to have a big impact,” Gold says. “We haven’t really had a major commercial success in Seattle biotech since Immunex, and I think you’ll see us bring a lot of the things they did.”

That means he’s going to import a lot of talented employees from around the country who want to work on a treatment with potential to transform prostate cancer (it had 88 job openings at last count), and it will serve as a magnet for institutional investors, getting them to travel from New York to Seattle, a trip they otherwise wouldn’t make.

“When the investors come out here to see us, they can stop to see some of the other companies here, so they all can benefit,” Gold says.

What about becoming the training ground for people to cut their teeth at, before they launch their own entrepreneurial ventures, a role performed in Boston … Next Page »

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10 responses to “Dendreon, Resisting Urge to Sell, Eyes Opportunity to Be Seattle’s Next Immunex”

  1. Pepper says:

    Very thoughtful article about the man and the company. Would like to hear from others who attended the meeting.

  2. Holly says:

    Great coverage, thank you. I was there today attending my first shareholders’ meeting, and I was impressed by the whole team, both by what they said and by what they were careful not to say. I heard nothing even hinting of antagonism or arrogance about the FDA or potential competitors–no hubris. It was smart and straight. The best part, however, may have been seeing the chief scientist’s eyes light up as he answered detailed questions after the meeting. He had the look of a man who knows his team has done good work. Very good work indeed.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I enjoyed getting to meet a few of the avid Dendreon readers in person this morning.

  4. Gloria says:

    Thanks for helping to get the real story of Dendreon out to the public.

  5. Luke,

    Nice article on Dendreon. I must have been standing right next to you…after the shareholder meeting? Were you the one taking shorthand notes? There was also an investor village get together over at the Holiday Inn, the night before. Maybe you can make it to the IV party next year? About fifty regular posters showed up. I’ve now got so much information between my ears my head hurts. LOL…I think we all might need a twelve step program if things get much more involved.

    In any event, nice article. Thanks for some great, unbiased reporting…just the facts.


  6. JW says:


    Trust all is well w/ you. I’m thinking about attending this years shareholder meeting in 2010.

    Does the DNDN have a fiduciary responsibility to disclose any bid offer to the public as well?


  7. JW–you’d have to ask a corporate lawyer to know when rules kick in about any takeover bid being publicly disclosed. I don’t really know.


  8. JW says:

    I found the above source and it helped me out just a little bit.

    Thank you