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