all the information, none of the junk | biotech • healthcare • life sciences

The Icos Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Xconomy Seattle — 

[Update: 9:41 pm Pacific, 9/7/10] Icos was once the great hope for Seattle biotech. Founded in 1990 with an investment from Bill Gates, it went on over the next 15 years to create a $1 billion molecule for treating erectile dysfunction, and employed about 700 people nationwide at its peak. For a while, it looked like it would carry the torch as the only big, independent, profitable biotech company with growth potential and staying power in the Seattle area.

That hope was dashed about three years ago, when Icos agreed to be acquired by its partner, Eli Lilly, ultimately for about $2.3 billion. Many readers will remember the controversy over this deal, which I covered with intensity through the fall of 2006 for The Seattle Times. Employees who had worked together for years and built a great camaraderie were deeply upset with CEO Paul Clark, who enriched himself with a $23 million golden parachute through the transaction while kicking most of them to the unemployment line. Shareholders objected to what they saw as a sweetheart deal for management, and ultimately forced Lilly to raise its bid before they handed over their shares.

Even Icos’s founding CEO and legendary leader, George Rathmann, who was not in good health at the time, objected to what had become of the company he created. It had essentially squandered an entire pipeline of drug candidates in the wake of its hit with tadalafil (Cialis), leaving no real opportunity for an encore, and no real strategic alternatives other than getting bought by Lilly.

About 550 people were employed locally at Icos at the time the Lilly acquisition closed in January 2007, and about 350 high-paying local jobs were cut. All that was left was a contract biotech drug manufacturing facility, which Lilly didn’t want, and sold to CMC, a Danish company that continues to operate at the old Icos facility in Bothell today.

But now that three years have gone by, what happened to all that intellectual capital that came to create exciting new biotech drugs for Icos? This is an important question for the future of Seattle biotech, given how companies that look to start or expand to new locations always consider the caliber of the local workforce as one of the main criteria.

From what I’ve been able to gather by talking to some very helpful former Icosians, I’ve discovered that quite a few of these bright people have stayed in the Seattle region. Some left for new opportunities elsewhere, usually after they couldn’t find suitable work in Seattle. Quite a few more than I expected have gone on to co-found or play critical technical roles in some intriguing startups—including Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, CoCrystal Discovery, Mirina, Theraclone Sciences, and Xori.

What follows here is a list of more than 270 names I’ve been able to gather from people who had made contributions to the science, medical, or business aspects of Icos. Special thanks go out to the following Icos alumni who were hugely helpful in allowing me to piece this list together: David Crowe of Mirina; Pat Gray of Accelerator; Ed Kesicki, Allen Casey, and Stephanie Florio of the Infectious Disease Research Institute; and Albert Yu of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals.

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive. I’ve done my best to verify everybody’s connection to Icos through their LinkedIn profiles or from other sites—but I haven’t been able to confirm every name referred to me. Some people haven’t kept their profiles up to date on LinkedIn or on other sources. So if you can think of former Icos alumni who I’ve overlooked, or if you see any mistakes, please send us an e-mail at editors@xconomy.com, or to me personally at ltimmerman@xconomy.com. Or feel free to post a comment at the bottom of the story. I figure this is a starting point for what could be a valuable networking resource.

Lee Adams, research scientist, Institute for Systems Biology

Janet Adolphson, senior research scientist, AMRI

Laura Afflerbaugh, research associate, Genentech

Brian Albarran, senior scientist, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Lynn Allen, founder, Allen Clinical Research

Roberta Allen, senior director of medical writing and editing, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals [Added 12/30/09]

Dan Allison, senior director of therapeutic design, VLST

Juli Ashburn, senior field force automation administrator, ZymoGenetics

Eric Austin, senior toxicology consultant, Veritox

Connie Ave-Teel, manager, lab support, CMC Icos

Tim Axtelle, vice president of product development, Allozyne

Susan Aznoff, owner, Petlane Pals

Lauret Ballsun, owner, LBC Pharmaceutical Professionals

Cari Barthe, recruiting project manager, NWRPros

Ted Baughman, senior scientist, chemistry, Saltigo

Chan Beals, senior director, Merck

Subru Bhat, vice president of quality assurance, Xenoport [Added Jan. 21, 2010]

Kelly Bickley, quality control associate scientist, CMC Icos

Julie Birashk, process development associate, CMC Icos

Bodil Bjorner, development associate, CMC Icos

Kyla Bjornson, senior research associate, Gilead Sciences

Kim Black-Washington, director of marketing and strategic development, Xcelience

Leonard Blum, senior vice president and chief commercial officer, Theravance

Mike Bradley, staff scientist, Array Biopharma

Heather Brammer, quality assurance manager, ZymoGenetics

Mike Brandenstein, scientist, Amgen

Jacqueline Brassard, scientific director, pathology, Allergan

Heather (Brand) Brett, scientist, Amgen

Jeff Bridewell, thought leader liaison, Genentech

Doug Burns, principal, DBC Consulting

Katie Carrigan, director of human resources, ZymoGenetics

Jason Carstens, director of process development, CMC Icos

Shannon Carstens, principal product quality leader, Amgen

Allen Casey, group leader, high throughput screening/robotics, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Sommer Castro, research technician, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Tina Catterall, managing partner, Global Interactions

Shannon Cavallari, training coordinator, PATH

Shing Chang, R&D director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

David Chantry, senior scientist, Genentech

Jay Charleston, owner and principal, STNW Consulting, owner of Stereotome NW

Hao Chen, principal scientist, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Janice Chittenden, director of software quality, NeuroVista

Michael Cicirelli, scientist, Theraclone Sciences

Paul Clark, operating partner, Genstar Capital, member of board of directors at Amylin Pharmaceuticals

Courtney Clark, research associate II, Seattle Genetics

Darcey Clark, senior scientist, Amgen [Updated: 12:20 pm Pacific, 3/29/10]

Tony Colasin, consultant, APC Corporate Development & Strategy Consulting

Anita Colvin, technical scientist, CMC Icos

Tom Cox, senior associate scientist, Novo Nordisk

David Crowe, scientist, Mirina

Dee Czaykowski, life sciences consultant [Added 12/30/09]

Jeff Dantzler, senior research associate, Novo Nordisk

Bela Denes, senior director of clinical research and development, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals

Peter de Vries, associate director of translational sciences, Ikaria

Mike Deeley, consultant, Somerset Consulting

Ardelle Dennis, executive assistant, CMC Icos

Mike Dennis, pharmaceuticals professional

Frank Diaz, assistant professor, University of North Alabama

Ken Dick, senior field technical specialist, LI-COR Biosciences

Greg Dietsch, vice president of research, VentiRx Pharmaceuticals

Tressa Dodd, senior director of regulatory affairs, VentiRx Pharmaceuticals

Jason Douangpanya, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Heather Douangpanya, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Tom Dudler, senior group leader, Omeros

Christian Eckhoff, senior scientist at SNBL USA

Ana Edwards, senior quality control analyst, Seattle Genetics

Kevin Egan, vice president of business development, CMC Icos

Fred Elliott, chemist, Bio-Rad Laboratories

Leslie Elliott, clinical research consultant

Nancy Enselman, office manager, VentiRx Pharmaceuticals

Angela Epp, research technologist III, Puget Sound Blood Center

James Esselstyn, production supervisor, Bio-Rad Laboratories

Jerry Evarts, principal scientist, chemistry, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Russell Eyre, director of safety assessment, SNBL USA

Gay Fanning, marketing assistant

Brian Farnes, safety coordinator, Nintendo

Rebekah Farnsworth, senior manager of technology transfer, Alder Biopharmaceuticals

Francine Farouz, senior director of medicinal chemistry, Fate Therapeutics

Valerie Fauvelle, associate manager of regulatory affairs, Gilead Sciences

Dave Federighi, senior analytical chemist, WIL Research Laboratories

Ken Ferguson, president and CEO, Imvaxyn

Gail Ferrari, executive assistant, business development, PopCap Games

Lacy Fitzpatrick, senior investor relations analyst, Nordstrom

Tim Fitzpatrick, site manager, Saltigo Redmond

Vince Florio, director of science, Omeros

Stephanie Florio, senior scientist, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Kerry Fowler, principal, KFW Consulting

Paul Fredlund, biotechnology consultant

Steven Frey, Theraclone Sciences

Mark Fromhold, vice president of manufacturing and process development, Koronis Pharmaceuticals

Lyn Frumkin, biotechnology consultant

Michael Gallatin, president, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Christopher Gann, vice president, Starbucks

Bob Garcia Jr., senior research associate scientist, Genentech

Leon Garcia-Martinez, associate director, Alder Biopharmaceuticals

Jeff Gardin, IT director, CMC Icos

Dean Gittleman, senior director of biometrics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals [Added 12/30/09]

Phyllis Goldman, senior program manager, Merck

David Goodkin, independent biotechnology professional

Kathy Goodman, executive assistant

Rebecca Gottschalk, senior research associate, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Patrick Gray, chief scientific director, Accelerator

Melanie Gray, medical student

Jacinthe Guindon, director of clinical operations, Viventia Biotech

Stephen Hadley, vice president of quality, CMC Icos

Jim Halbrook, senior research scientist, Albany Molecular Research

Kristi Hamilton, research associate III, Institute for Systems Biology

Christine Hansen, senior research associate, Seattle Genetics

Lori Hansen, director of project management, Seattle Genetics

Kevin Harbol, senior group leader, Omeros

Pat Hardwick, information technology support manager, College Success Foundation

Justin Hare, in vivo toxicology study coordinator, Amgen

Edith Harris, scientist, Mirina

Nataly Hawthorn, biotechnology professional

Joel Hayflick, former senior oncology early product development team leader, Genentech

Allen Heck, director of operations, Northshore Sheet Metal

Lee Hendrickson, owner, Side Street Photographics

Christopher Henney, chairman of the board, Oncothyreon, director, AVI Biopharma

Kelly Hensley, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Dan Herendeen, research scientist, Tumor Vaccine Group, University of Washington

Carmen Hertel, research associate, Unigen

Jeff Hesselberg, vice president of regulatory affairs, GTx

John Hill, director of medical sciences, Amgen

Mark Hill, senior scientist in autoimmunity, ZymoGenetics

Stephen Hill, executive director of manufacturing, Amgen

Jim Hnilo, project manager, Ricerca Biosciences [Added: 10:10 am, 6/11/10]

Nicole Hoagland, clinical study manager, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Merl Hoekstra, vice president of corporate and business development, ELITech Group

Patricia Hoffman, administrative director for research, Puget Sound Blood Center

Ryan Holcomb, project director, Myriad Pharmaceuticals

Mark Honda, director of human resources, CMC Icos

Shawn Hooper, sales manager, Charles River Laboratories

Monique Howard, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Yvonne Howard, purchasing agent, Boeing

Scott Hussell, senior research associate, Novo Nordisk

Sally Thompson Iritani, associate director, ZymoGenetics

Christopher Irons, contract biotech drug researcher

Irina Jacobson, associate director of research chemistry, AVI Biopharma

Laury Jenkins, executive assistant, CMC Icos

Bohan Stan Jin, scientist II, Takeda San Diego

Bryan Jones, biotech and pharmaceutical consultant

Padmaja Juwadi, director of quality assurance, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories [Added at 5:30 Pacific, 3/10/10]

Suzanne Kanaly, scientific director, pathology, Allergan

Ramesh Kasar, scientist

Adam Kashishian, staff scientist at Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Heather Kean, administrative assistant, Seattle Genetics

Kathy Keegan, principal scientist, Amgen

Gary Keizur, director of quality assurance/quality control, MediQuest Therapeutics

Michael Kellogg, associate director of facilities and operations, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Ed Kesicki, director of small molecule drug discovery, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Pat Kilgannon, former director of project management, ZymoGenetics

Musong Kim, research scientist, Gilead Sciences

Jonathan Klepinger, senior research associate, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Abby Kliphardt, production chemist, Bio-Rad Laboratories

Joshua Klocke, associate scientist IV, MDS Pharma Services

Byron Kneller, senior staff scientist, CMC Icos

Gabrielle Kolakowski, associate scientist, Array Biopharma

Sandy Kopponol, city council member, city of Lake Forest Park

Yvonne Lai, professor of biology, Indiana University

Keith Laycock, network analyst, City of Redmond

Sam Lee, president, CoCrystal Discovery

Dina Leviten, scientist, Ikaria

Michael Libby, assistant director of quality control, Irix Pharmaceuticals

Marykay Ligocki, research scientist

Mong-Wu Lin, quality control associate, Dharma Therapeutics

Brian Lipsky, senior associate research scientist, Amgen

Mila Lobanova, senior director of finance, ZymoGenetics

Christine Loh, associate director, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals

Kate Loughney, medical and scientific writing

Andrew Lover, graduate student researcher, National University of Singapore

Mark Lupher, senior vice president of drug discovery, Promedior

Mack Mabry, senior director, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Linda MacKeen, director of medical writing, Seattle Genetics

Patricia Magnafichi, procurement manager, Genentech

Benjamin Maier, quality assurance senior specialist, CMC Icos

Linda Mangone, director of organization development and learning, Regence Blue Cross/BlueShield

Timothy Martins, co-director Quellos High Throughput Screening Core, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington

Mari Maurer, director of clinical operations, BioMarin Pharmaceutical [Added 12/30/09]

Kim Nordstrom McCaw, biotechnology professional

David McElligott, vice president of research and development, Mirina

William McFee, scientist, Seattle Genetics

David Meyer, senior research associate, Seattle Genetics

Greg Miller, scientist, Bayer Healthcare

Leslie Milligan, senior clinical data manager, i3StatProbe

Rosemary Monaghan, biotechnology professional

Susan Moon, freelance medical writer

Robin Moore, vice president of worldwide procurement, Getty Images [Added 12/30/09]

Amy Moro, quality assurance analyst, Quidel

Michael Moro, senior project manager of clinical supplies, Bilcare GCS

Steve Murdock, partner, life sciences practice leader, Allen Austin Executive Search

Aileen Murphy, director of biometrics, Seattle Genetics [Added 12/30/09]

Colleen Murphy, lab supply coordinator, MDRNA

Sean O’Dea, vice president of intellectual property, 3-V Biosciences

Joshua Odingo, director of chemistry, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Amy Oliver, chemicals professional

Harch Ooi, senior scientist, process chemistry, Seattle Genetics

Mark Orme, group leader of chemistry, Acucela

Karen Osofsky Michelson, senior manager of talent acquisition, Amazon.com

Karen Parker, clinical trial manager, Genentech

Leland Paul, vice president of process development, CMC Icos

Noah Pefaur, staff scientist, Novo Nordisk

Sissy Peterman, clinical research manager, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Scott Peterson, vice president of research and development, Oncothyreon

Tony Phan, manufacturing manager, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Louise Pobanz, finance director, CMC Icos

Tamara Potter, clinical research associate, Medicis Technologies

John Pribble, vice president of medical affairs, ZymoGenetics

Jeffrey Price, engineering technician, CMC Icos

Mark Prudhon, clinical supply manager, Seattle Genetics

Kamal Puri, principal scientist, head of biology, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Carol Raport, senior scientist, VLST

George Rathmann, retired

Padma Ravikumar, senior research associate, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Mark Reed, director of medicinal chemistry, Treventis

Rob Rees, senior systems engineer, CMC Icos

Mark Rice, staff scientist, CMC Icos

Maha Rizk, scientist

Kathy Rogers, associate director, statistical programming, ZymoGenetics

Diane Rosman, biotechnology professional

Guy Rosman, technical scientist with Rylem, owner of Ramps To You

Fuqiang Ruan, principal scientist, discovery chemistry, Ikaria

Alex Rudolph, associate scientist, Gilead Sciences

Jennifer Running Deer, senior associate scientist, Novo Nordisk

Anthony Russell, director of medical affairs, ZymoGenetics

Chanchal Sadhu, senior principal investor, Covance Laboratories

Stephen Schmidt, biochemical pharmacology, Genentech

Lisa Schultze, head of quality, Saltigo Redmond

James Schwartz, director of business operations and sales effectiveness, ZymoGenetics

Randy Schweikart, senior manager, Amgen

Vicki Schweickart, principal at Datakine Consulting

Roxanne Scott, drug safety consultant [Added 12/30/09]

Nilesh Shah, principal scientist, Seattle Genetics

Regan Shea, senior director of chemical development, Gilead Sciences

Kim Shigenaka, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Randall Sittner, logistics manager at Seattle Genetics, owner Kim’s Cafe

Elaine Skeffington, executive assistant, Institute for Systems Biology

Karen Solvason, clinical data management, Seattle Genetics

Jari Sowell, senior data manager, Genentech [Updated, 12/30/09, formerly with Amgen]

Diane St. John, director of human resources, Seattle Genetics

Tom St. John, former executive vice president, Fate Therapeutics

Frank Stappenbeck, scientist, Fate Therapeutics

Don Staunton, president and chief scientific officer, CisThera

Michael Stein, member of the board of directors, Nautilus

Bart Steiner, staff scientist, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Michael Stewart, president, Northwest Pharma Consulting

Johnny Stine, founder and president, North Coast Biologics

Cliff Stocks, chief business officer, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Ellen Stone, benefits manager, Symetra Financial

Liming Sui, pharmaceuticals professional

Tom Swallow, consultant

Jennifer Swank, analytical chemistry consultant, Swank Consulting

Janelle Taylor, senior research associate II, VLST

Elena Te, senior clinical design consultant, Phase Forward

Sally Teeters, director of legal and business operations management, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Bobbie Thomasson, senior research associate, Amgen

Eugene Thorsett, pharmaceutical consultant

James Tierney, accounting manager, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Karen Tindall, director of clinical data management, Innovative Analytics [Added 12/30/09]

Bill Tino, staff scientist, LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals

Larry Tjoelker, senior director of research, Xori

Carlos Toledano, vivarium manager, Benaroya Research Institute

Nate Toy, manufacturing associate III, Bio-Rad Laboratories

Sam Tran, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Carol Tranfaglia, manager of clinical data management, Cell Therapeutics [Added: 9:41 pm, 9/7/10]

Jennifer Treiberg, associate scientist II, Gilead Sciences

Stephanie Tuck, preclinical scientist, Uptake Medical

Brad Turcott, senior human resources manager, Seattle Genetics, director of human resources at Infospace

Terry Turner, director of business development, PSI

Stephanie Turner, biotechnology consultant

Nancy Upton, executive assistant to the president and CFO, Genie Industries

Linda Valentine, quality control analyst, ZymoGenetics

Mike Van Brunt, scientist, Allozyne

Mike Vandiver, director of pilot plant operations, Amgen

Marie Rose van Schravendijk, associate director of analytical and formulation development, CMC Icos

Rosemay Vazeux, scientist

Joachim Veith, senior drug safety scientist, Genentech/Roche [Added 12/30/09]

Satyanarayana Vunnam, scientist [Added 3/3/10]

Andy Walker, associate director manufacturing technical operations, CMC Icos

Susan Wang, strategic director for Asia, MDS Pharma Services

Margie Watson, ambassador of first impressions, CMC Icos

Steve Waugh, director of downstream process development, CMC Icos

Dave Weber, security engineer, Network Computing Architects

Joachim Weickmann, biotechnology professional

Joe Weil, senior scientist, Trubion Pharmaceuticals

Steven Whitaker, vice president of clinical development and chief medical officer, Allon Therapeutics

Claire White, administrative specialist, ZymoGenetics

Gary Wilcox, chairman and CEO, CoCrystal Discovery

Pamela Wilkendorf, senior CMC project manager, CMC Icos

Wendy Wisdom, senior associate scientist, Amgen

Sharon Wolda, senior program manager, Intellectual Ventures

Jeff Wood, associate director of global product development, PPD

Michele (Koethe) Yetman, vice president of human resources, technology, Amazon.com

Albert Yu, vice president, clinical affairs, chief medical officer, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals

Patricia Zajac, executive coordinator, Gilead Sciences

Kristin Ziegler, process development manager, CMC Icos

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

5 responses to “The Icos Alumni: Where Are They Now?”

  1. I actually loved our logo – very simple, but it just looked like fun.
    When George R. was recently asked by a reporter from an Everett newspaper about building Icos into a company like Amgen….he replied “…..why would I stop there?”. With a leader like that, like George, one who inspires with energetic goals such as that mentioned – we could’ve done it. We had the tools and the ability to do just that. We had great people who’ve all proven themselves in places before and afterward…….but imagine what we could’ve done behind the hopes of a great leader like George who set that tone….a CEO who knew all of our names, someone who would talk to you like you were a valued asset, a guy that empowered us via ownership. Imagine what we could’ve done…..because that’s all we’re left to do.

    By the way- Luke – I prefer Icosanoids – a play on the word eicosanoid since we were primarily an inflammation company. :-)

  2. Johnny—Unfortunately, I never really got to know George very well because he had already left Icos by the time I started covering the company in 2001. But I made a point of meeting him at his home once a couple years ago when I was based in San Francisco. He wasn’t in great health, but he was still sharp and very much curious about the latest happenings in biotech.

    I haven’t heard the term Icosanoids from eicosanoid, but that made me laugh this morning. It sounds like something from Star Trek. Anybody know if this was also the inspiration for the term “Immunoids” for people who used to work at Immunex?

  3. Nice work, Luke. Goes to prove that even though we might lose companies through acquisition we’d really rather keep, it’s not like everything connected with the company disappears. By my eye, the “loss” of Icos created at least a half-dozen new companies and significantly strengthened a dozen or more startups. A nice silver lining.

  4. Abby Kliphardt says:

    Nice article…good to see where my co-workers have ended. I loved my time at ICOS and will always lament the loss of a great company that was a real family….