The State of Seattle Biotech 2011: Xconomy’s Chat With UW Faculty & Students

1/19/11Follow @xconomy

Seattle biotech is coming off the single best year that I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been covering the local industry. Hands down, no doubt about it.

The FDA approval of Dendreon’s immune-booster for prostate cancer was a watershed for the company and the field of cancer immunotherapy, and Seattle Genetics had some truly groundbreaking clinical trial results from its “empowered antibody” for cancer. Two of biotech’s powerhouse national companies—Amgen and Gilead Sciences—won FDA approvals of a new bone drug and a cystic fibrosis treatment that wouldn’t have happened without key contributions from folks who work at those big companies in Seattle.

Since FDA approved drugs are pretty rare these days, having three from our area in one year and one more that appears to be well on the way is something to write about.

I organized an Xconomy event last November, “Biotech’s Back in Seattle,” around this very theme, but I haven’t really had an occasion to write about this at length. But yesterday I was fortunate to be the guest speaker in a morning talk at the Orin Smith Auditorium at the University of Washington’s South Lake Union campus. This was basically a Q&A session with students and faculty about the “The State of Seattle Biotech in 2011.” Thanks very much to UW professors David Dichek, Stephen Schwartz, and Chuck Murry for welcoming me to talk about this theme on campus for the second year in a row, and to JP Paredes for helping the trains to run on time.

This session was audio recorded, so for those who missed it and would like to get a basic lay of the landscape, here’s a link to the archived webcast (or you can click on the Play button below). The first few minutes appear to be missing, and this file picks up during the Q&A session as I was asked to elaborate on what Seattle Genetics did this year to stand out. It starts out a bit muffled, but the audio gets much better about 30 seconds in.

I’m curious to hear from readers whether you like this sort of audio commentary, and whether it’s something we ought to experiment with a bit more at Xconomy. So let me know what you think about that. Of course, I’d also love to hear your thoughts on where biotech is going in Seattle in 2011 to help me set priorities as we move into another exciting year covering the ups and downs of the local biotech scene.

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  • Jim Smith

    Luke,
    I just listened to the webcast of the UW Faculty & Students regarding the Seattle Biotech topic. Your voice came through just great! Everyone else, not so much. I’m not sure whether it was the room, the recording or the equipment.
    Overall, I like a podcast that is quick and to the point. For example, if you published a weekly wrap up of your work into a podcast, I would listen.
    Hope that helps and remember, this is just my two cents!
    Jim

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ltimmerman/ Luke Timmerman

    Jim—JP Paredes tried to tell me to repeat the questions into the microphone for the benefit of webcast listeners, but, alas, I forgot to do that after the first question. The recording equipment was fine for me, but they didn’t have a roving microphone in the audience.

    I’ll think about the podcast thing. If anyone knows of a very simple, automated way for doing podcasts—and Xconomy readers want this—then I’d do it. I just don’t want to waste any time messing around with technical stuff when I should be out digging up original news and features for this site.

  • http://na JW

    Luke,
    Was unable to play it… Clicked on arrow and nothing…
    Sorry, maybe I need a certain player or something…

    Ooops, never mind Luke. Clicked on the “webcast” link and was able to listen to it there… thx and keep up the gr8 work!

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ltimmerman/ Luke Timmerman

    JW—have you tried to open this up through the Firefox web browser? I’m told one reader had trouble with Internet Explorer.

    I also put a hyperlink to the webcast in the body of this story, which should take you to the UW web page as another way to access the recording.

  • BW

    Luke,

    You and xconomy have grasped the future of journalism – knowledgeable reporting about a specific, valuable area of interest. Podcasting is a transfer of information that can occur while the listener is occupied with low demand activity, like driving and daily chores. Reserve podcasts for in-depth investigative journalism on a single topic, including analysis, and (non-obvious) commentary by content experts. (Avoid pundits and event reporting, which is much clamor and little content.) That product will differentiate you and provide real value for your followers.

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.silere.com Michael F. Langhout

    Luke, loved being able to listen in on your Q & A on the podcast. Couldn’t hear the questions very well, so you might want to restate the question for your listeners. It would also be good to hear a bit more about medical device. We are more known for pharma and research, but we do have some device companies starting up that are dedicated and hopefully going to make it. Like ours! Keep up the great work. Mike Langhout