In 1998, Clay co-founded Seattle Genetics. It was a time when cancer treatments were dominated by chemotherapies that didn’t differentiate between killing cancer cells and normal cells. His vision was to improve the lives of people with cancer by developing targeted therapies to treat major unmet needs.
A scientist by training, Clay built Seattle Genetics on a foundation of scientific innovation, rigorous research and drug development practices as well as a passion for helping patients. He has guided the company to its current leadership position in the field of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and in the 2011 FDA approval of our first ADC product, ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin). Under a collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, ADCETRIS is now a global brand that is approved in 70 countries. Seattle Genetics is also advancing a diverse pipeline of proprietary ADCs for the treatment of cancer.
Under Clay’s leadership, Seattle Genetics has entered in to multiple strategic licenses for our ADC technology, including with Astellas, Genentech (Roche), AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, that have generated more than $375 million to date. Across internal and collaborator programs, there are more than 20 ADCs in clinical development using our technology. Clay has also led Seattle Genetics’ capital-raising activities, securing more than $1.8 billion through public and private financings, including the company’s initial public offering in 2001.
1998 as co-founder
Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute
National Institutes of Health, National Cancert Institute
2013 University of Maryland Alumnus of the Year for Computer, Math and Natural Sciences
2012 Pacific Northwest Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Author on more than 70 publications
Holds 15 patents
Ph.D., Genetics, George Washington University
B.S., Zoology, University of Maryland
Director, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical
Director, Alder BioPharmaceuticals
Director, Washington Roundtable
Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., has served as a one of our directors since July 2003. Dr. Akkaraju is a Founder and Managing General Partner at Samsara BioCapital. Previously, from April 2013 to February 2016, he served as a General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures. From January 2009 until April 2013, he served as Managing Director of New Leaf Venture Partners. Previously, he served as a Managing Director at Panorama Capital, LLC, a private equity firm. Prior to co-founding Panorama Capital, he was with J.P. Morgan Partners, which he joined in 2001 and of which he became a Partner in 2005. From October 1998 to April 2001, he was in Business and Corporate Development at Genentech, Inc. (now a wholly owned member of The Roche Group), a biotechnology company, most recently as Senior Manager.
Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Akkaraju was a graduate student at Stanford University, where he received his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology. He received his undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science from Rice University. Dr. Akkaraju also serves as a director of Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Versartis and aTyr Pharma. Previously, Dr. Akkaraju served as a director on the boards of Barrier Therapeutics, Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, ZS Pharma, Synageva Biopharma Corp. and Amarin Corporation plc.
Felix J. Baker, Ph.D., has served as a Director of Seattle Genetics since July 2003 and as our lead independent director since February 2005. Dr. Baker is a Co-Managing Member of Baker Bros. Advisors LP. Dr. Baker and his brother, Julian Baker, started their fund management careers in 1994 when they co-founded a biotechnology investing partnership with the Tisch Family. In 2000, they founded Baker Bros. Advisors LP.
Dr. Baker holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University, where he also completed two years of medical school. Dr. Baker also serves on the boards of Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Genomic Health.
David W. Gryska joined our Board of Directors in March 2005. Since October 2014, Mr. Gryska has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Incyte Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company. He served as Chief Operating Officer and a director of Myrexis, Inc. from May 2012 to December 2012. From December 2006 to October 2010, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Celgene Corporation. From October 2004 to December 2006, he was a principal at Strategic Consulting Group, where he provided strategic consulting to early-stage biotechnology companies. Previously, Mr. Gryska served at Scios, Inc., as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2004, and as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer from 1998 to 2000. Scios was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Cardiac Pathways, a medical device company later acquired by Boston Scientific Corporation. Prior to Cardiac Pathways, Mr. Gryska served as a partner at Ernst & Young (EY). During his eleven years at EY, he focused on technology industries, with an emphasis on biotechnology and healthcare companies.
Mr. Gryska holds a B.A. in Accounting and Finance from Loyola University and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of PDL BioPharma.
Marc E. Lippman, M.D., has served as a Director of Seattle Genetics since June 2000. Since May 2007, Dr. Lippman has served as the Kathleen and Stanley Glaser Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, where he also serves as the Deputy Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously, he served as the John G. Searle Professor and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Before that, Dr. Lippman was the Director of the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Oncology, and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical School. He also served as Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Georgetown University Medical School and Head of the Medical Breast Cancer Section of the Medicine Branch of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Lippman has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and one of the standard texts on breast cancer. He is a director of Ascenta Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company. He received a B.A., magna cum laude from Cornell and his M.D. from Yale where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha.
John A. Orwin joined the Seattle Genetics Board of Directors in January 2014. Since June 2013, he has served as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Relypsa, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. Prior to Relypsa, he was at Affymax, serving most recently as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, Mr. Orwin was Vice President and then Senior Vice President of the BioOncology Business Unit at Genentech (now a member of the Roche Group), where he was responsible for all marketing, sales, business unit operations and pipeline brand management for Genentech's oncology portfolio in the United States. He has also held senior marketing and sales positions at Johnson & Johnson, Alza Pharmaceuticals, Sangstat Medical Corporation, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals and Schering-Plough Corporation.
He also serves on the Boards of Directors of Array BioPharma and Retrophin, Inc.
Alpna Seth, Ph.D. joined our Board of Directors in March 2018. Since July 2017, Dr. Seth has served as Chief Operating Officer of Vir Biotechnology. Prior to joining Vir, Dr. Seth was Senior Vice President and Global head of the Biosimilars Global Business Unit for Biogen, Inc. headquartered in Zug, Switzerland since 2014. From 1998 through 2014, she held a range of leadership roles at Biogen in market and business development, drug development and commercial, including founding Managing Director of Biogen Idec India and Program Executive for several of Biogen’s major cross-functional drug development programs and product launches.
She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Massachusetts Medical School and conducted her post-doctoral research at Harvard University in Immunology and Structural Biology, both as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow. She is also a 2002 graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Dr. Seth also serves on the Board of Bio Techne.
Nancy A. Simonian, M.D. joined our Board of Directors in March 2012. Since July 2012, Dr. Simonian has served as Chief Executive Officer of Syros Pharmaceuticals, a publicly held life science company focused on gene control therapeutics. From 2001 to 2011 she was with Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, most recently serving as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical, Medical and Regulatory Affairs. Before Millennium, she was Vice President of Clinical Research at Biogen (now Biogen Idec) where she was responsible for clinical development and medical affairs of the neurology and oncology pipeline, including Avonex® and Tysabri®.
Dr. Simonian serves on the boards of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and the Damon Runyan Foundation. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Simonian was on the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as an assistant professor of neurology. She received a B.A. in Biology from Princeton University and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
Daniel G. Welch has served as a Director since June 2007. Since January 2015, Mr. Welch has been Executive Partner of Sofinnova Ventures. Prior to joining Sofinnova, he was Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune since 2003, and in May 2007 he assumed the additional role of Chairman of the Board of InterMune until its acquisition by Roche in October 2014. Previously, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Gilead in 2003. Prior to that, he was President of Biopharmaceuticals at Elan Corporation. During his tenure at Elan he was responsible for its U.S. commercial operations, international subsidiaries, R&D and diagnostics businesses. From 1987 to 2000, Mr. Welch served in various senior management roles at Sanofi-Synthelabo, now Sanofi-Aventis, including Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. business.
Mr. Welch holds a B.A. from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina. Mr. Welch also serves as a director of Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals and AveXis.