Seattle’s biotech industry has experienced what has to be considered a lost decade. Many of the region’s brightest stars of the 1990s—Immunex, Icos, Rosetta Inpharmatics, Corixa—ended up getting bought by companies in other places that ultimately axed hundreds of talented scientists and businesspeople.
The jobs may not have all come back, but Seattle biotech has begun to show fundamental signs of rebirth. Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) has now introduced the first FDA-approved treatment that fights cancer by actively stimulating the immune system—and been rewarded with a $5.7 billion market valuation at yesterday’s close. Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) has released remarkable clinical trial data in the past few weeks suggesting it has created a potent new drug for Hodgkin’s disease, and what could be the first commercially successful “empowered antibody” for cancer.
Given the historic nature of what’s been happening here in Seattle lately, I’m thrilled to announce today that we at Xconomy are convening the leaders of these companies to talk about how to make sure the Northwest doesn’t let this new momentum slip away. The CEOs of Dendreon, Seattle Genetics, and two of the most promising private biotechs in the Northwest—Alder Biopharmaceuticals and Calistoga Pharmaceuticals—are all coming together for a lively panel discussion the evening of November 29 at PATH’s new headquarters in South Lake Union. You can check out the full lineup at the registration page for this event, which we’re calling “Xconomy Forum: Biotech’s Back in Seattle.“
This event will be kicked off with a keynote presentation by Dendreon CEO Mitch Gold, who has said for years that he wants to make his company the anchor tenant of the Seattle biotech cluster, importing talent into the region like Immunex once did. I will then moderate a panel discussion with Gold, Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals CEO Carol Gallagher, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals CEO Randy Schatzman. I hope to draw out their individual and collective wisdom on how Seattle can sustain its renewed success and continue making a global impact on the life sciences industry over the coming decades.
As usual, I have a few more ideas on how to involve a few more players in this event, particularly since it’s coming together on the home turf of PATH, a leading hub of global health expertise. So stay tuned for further updates. Tickets for this event, just like our big VC Crossfire gathering at Amazon on October 28, are sure to go quickly, so it’s a good idea to get them while you still can. See you on November 29.
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