Digging in the Closet for Halloween? Get Out Your Icos Mementos

Xconomy Seattle — 

Somewhere, buried deep in the closets of many biotech professionals in the Northwest, there are old T-shirts, coffee mugs, or little squeezy stress balls with a logo that says “Icos.” Even though many of these things probably have been stuck in boxes for years, it’s time to dig them out for a big party coming up on Nov. 27.

I’m gathering up all kinds of Icos company swag for a fun display at our next big event in Seattle, called “The Icos Impact.” This event is shaping up to be the biggest reunion yet of Icos alumni since the biotech company was acquired by Eli Lilly five years ago. We are expecting people from all over the Seattle biotech community to come together for this one, and we have a great group of speakers who have agreed to share a few short anecdotes about their time at Icos. The speakers include:

Cliff Stocks, CEO, Theraclone Sciences

Gary Wilcox, CEO, Cocrystal Discovery

Mike Gallatin, Senior Advisor, Frazier Healthcare Ventures

Stephanie Florio, Scientist, Infectious Disease Research Institute

Patrick Gray, Scientific Fellow, Omeros

Mila Lobanova, Vice President of Finance and Operations, Blaze Bioscience

Susan Sullivan, Vice President of Project Management, CMC Biologics

Albert Yu, Vice President of Clinical Development, Omeros

I’ve asked some of these folks, and a few more alumni, to poke around in their basements to find some of their company mementos to help put together a visual display people can peruse at the event. I’m confident that with enough volunteers chipping in, this display will help trigger lots of memories. Ed Kesicki, a former Icos chemist, tells me he has some tie-dyed Icos T-shirts at home. Groovy.

Here’s how I’d like to make this work: If you have Icos memorabilia you’d like to display at the event, please send me a note at [email protected] to make an appointment to drop it off at the Xconomy Seattle office for safe-keeping. This way, we can arrange everything on bulletin boards and tables at the Institute for Systems Biology before everyone starts showing up on Nov. 27. I’ll keep track of everything so the rightful owners can retrieve their goods at the event, and take them home at the end of the night.

My precious squeezy stress ball

One last note: In case some of you are wondering where that featured picture came from, that’s from my own modest Seattle biotech memorabilia stash. I picked this up in the summer of 2001 or 2002 (can’t remember) when I covered a Seattle biotech investor summit at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. That was back when Immunex was the main draw for East Coast investors, and helped organize a summit that gave valueable exposure to smaller companies in the Northwest, like Icos and Corixa. Somebody at Icos apparently thought they could make an impression by giving away little squeezy stress balls to everybody in the audience, crafted in the shape of a Washington State ferry.

My little squeezy ball has clearly seen better days, but it’s something. I look forward to seeing what the Icos alumni still have as mementos, and seeing what kind of stories they help conjure up. See you there at the Institute for Systems Biology on Nov. 27.