Early Theraclone Scientist Lee Adams Dies in Mount Rainier Climbing Accident
Some more sad news has hit the Seattle biotech community. Lee Adams, one of the early employees at Spaltudaq, now Theraclone Sciences, died this week on Mount Rainier after a fall into a crevasse. He was 52.
The Seattle Times has a solid story on what happened on the mountain at 13,000 feet of elevation. The story notes that Adams was not just an avid climber, but a research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology and Theraclone Sciences before that. In a statement, ISB officials said that Adams brought “genuine enthusiasm” to his work each day. I heard a similar comment from Accelerator president David Schubert.
“He was truly one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet in this world and he ALWAYS wore a smile and was infectiously positive in his demeanor. He was part of the Accelerator family. He will be deeply missed,” Schubert says.
I can’t say I knew Adams, because I only met him once. But I have to say he made the same impression on me personally. Adams was one of the earliest supporters of Xconomy Seattle. As you can see in the picture from our archives, Adams (on the right) attended our very first local event, a forum on vaccine innovation that was held at the Institute for Systems Biology in December 2008. The economy was in the tank, and almost everyone other than my wife thought I had lost my mind in joining an online media startup. I wasn’t really sure how many people were reading our site, or how many people would show up at our event.
But I remember Adams pulling me aside at this event, which you can see in the picture. He told me how much he appreciated our daily coverage of local biotechnology, how valuable it was for people like him in the local biotech industry to be able to read about what others in town were doing. He might have even asked me for some scuttlebutt about another company I had recently reported on. But basically, he urged me to keep doing what I do. There was no question it was a sincere comment, and he wasn’t asking for anything from me in return. I could tell this was someone who had a real genuine life spark inside him. I’m sad to see him go.
This is the second tragedy that has hit the Theraclone Sciences team this summer, following the sudden death of CEO David Fanning in June. If you have any memories of Adams, or Fanning, that you’d like to share with readers of Xconomy, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below.