Al Gore Was Almost a VIP Scientist, and More to Remember at the Immunex Impact Dec. 1

Xconomy Seattle — 

Legend has it that former vice president Al Gore was once supposed to visit Seattle-based Immunex. Somebody had the bright idea of making a white lab coat with Gore’s name and “VIP scientist” embroidered on it, which probably would have made for an amusing photo op for the evening news.

Ah, but according to former Immunex government relations manager Jake Johnston, the veep’s visit fell through, and he never wore the lab coat. When Amgen acquired Immunex in 2002, Johnston ended up the owner of this rare collector’s item.

This is just one of the fun examples of Immunex swag that people are planning to put on display at “The Immunex Impact,” the big Xconomy event we are organizing the evening of Dec. 1 at the Institute for Systems Biology. Since I invited people to dig stuff out of their closets a couple weeks ago, I’ve heard the story of the lab coat as well as tales of various other items that have been socked away not just in closets, but basements, and other storage places. I’ve heard about water bottles, well-worn baseball caps, coffee mugs, jackets, and that there is at least one other slinky out there like my prized possession.

Al Gore's famously unused lab coat, courtesy of Jake Johnston

For those of you who want to wear your stuff, feel free—Richard Gayle tells me he’s thinking of sporting his blue Immunex jacket at the event on Dec. 1. For those of you with various other items that you can’t (or don’t want to) wear, I’d suggest showing up with your gear about 5 pm so we can get things situated as people start showing up for the program that starts at 6 pm.

More than 120 people have already registered for this event, which is a month away, and space is limited. So if you are an alumnus or a friend of the Immunex alumni, I’d suggest getting your tickets sooner rather than later. This is going to be the biggest reunion of Immunex alumni in years, as we have confirmed a rare and special lineup of speakers—Steve Gillis, Chris Henney, Stewart Parker, Doug Williams, Dave Urdal, Steve Graham, Janis Wignall, and Patricia Beckmann.

Besides having people bring their swag, I have a number of other fun little touches in mind for this event, which I’ll write about on Xconomy as we get closer. If you have any suggestions of special touches to add, please let me know at [email protected] I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of readers there at the ISB on Dec. 1.

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3 responses to “Al Gore Was Almost a VIP Scientist, and More to Remember at the Immunex Impact Dec. 1”

  1. Pons e Flieshmannnn says:

    Did you know that Slade “Skeletor” Gordon did visit? I think his lab coat was quickly whisked into the autoclave.

  2. Randy says:

    Does anyone have a copy of the “Songs in the Key of I” CD? That would make a nice soundtrack to the evening!

  3. Ralph Parsens says:

    The last time I listened to Gillis was when he paid me and it was bad enuff then. I think he should do it again and not the other way around