The Immunex Impact: What to Expect Tomorrow Night

Xconomy Seattle — 

We here at Xconomy are eagerly anticipating our biggest Seattle biotech event of the year: “The Immunex Impact.” We expect to pack the house tomorrow night at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, as more than 230 people have registered. There is still a little bit more room to squeeze a few more folks in, but not much.

For those who may have missed the earlier announcements, this event will bring together many of the key people who built the Seattle biotech cluster through their experience at Immunex and other companies. We’re going to do our best to conjure up old memories about the spirit that made Immunex so special during its 20-year run in business.

Here’s what to expect. During the networking portion of the evening, before and after the program, we’ll be playing the 2002 soundtrack from the Immunex house band, 51 You. My favorite track on this CD has to be “Don’t Fear the Merger,” a clever play on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

Also during the networking, we’re putting together an awesome display of memorabilia. We will have old photos, T-shirts, a lab coat, trophies, coffee mugs, annual reports, back copies of the “Immunews” newsletters, a banner, and all kinds of other Immunex goodies to display. A certain co-founder (that’s you, Steve Gillis) says he’s willing to poke around in his basement to look for a copy of the “Wayne’s World” video spoof on some certain uptight East Coast pharma executives. I’m counting on you to deliver, Gillis!

But seriously, I want to thank Janis Wignall, Stewart Parker, Jake Johnston, my former Seattle Times boss Rami Grunbaum, and Stewart Lyman for contributing to this awesome stash of company memorabilia.

Once the clock strikes 6 pm, Leroy Hood, the president of the Institute for Systems Biology, will start off the program with some brief welcoming remarks as the host. Maybe he can enlighten us all about how in the early ’80s he got involved in co-founding Amgen (but not Immunex).

After I go through the usual round of thank-yous, the program will feature several well-known veterans of Immunex. I’ll moderate a keynote chat between co-founders Steve Gillis and Chris Henney, which will go for about 20 minutes. Then we’ll hand over the microphone to a group of Immunoids who will each tell a single favorite anecdote from their experience back in the day. Doug Williams, Stewart Parker, Janis Wignall, Steve Graham, Dave Urdal, and Patricia Beckmann will each have their turn to share a fond memory.

Lastly, I’ll wrap up by offering a special mystery prize to the winner of the Immunex trivia quiz, which I published here on Xconomy a couple weeks ago. The bar has been set pretty high, but there’s still time to send in your answers to me at [email protected]

That’s it. We plan to wrap up the program by 6:45 pm, so that all the Immunoids and friends can connect over a drink and some light fare. See you there at the Institute for Systems Biology tomorrow night.

Here’s the agenda:

5 pm: Registration/Networking

6 pm: Welcoming remarks: Leroy Hood

6:05 pm: Introductions: Luke Timmerman

6:10 pm: Keynote chat with Steve Gillis and Chris Henney

6:30 pm: Remembrances

Doug Williams, Biogen Idec

Stewart Parker, IDRI

Steve Graham, Fenwick & West

Janis Wignall, consultant

Dave Urdal, Dendreon

Patricia Beckmann, OTRADI

6:45 pm: Trivia quiz winner announced

6:45 pm-8:30 pm: Networking