Icos was once the great hope for Seattle biotech. Founded in 1990 with investment from Bill Gates and inspirational leadership from George Rathmann, it went on over the next 15 years to assemble a team of 700 employees and create a $1 billion molecule.
But as anyone in business more than a few years knows, nothing lasts forever, and Icos didn’t either. It was acquired for $2.3 billion by Eli Lilly in 2007, which picked up the crown jewel of tadalafil (Cialis) and sent most of the workforce packing. That wasn’t good news for a lot of people who enjoyed good, steady work at Icos with colleagues they enjoyed working with. But it did also free up a lot of talented people who have moved on to other high-impact things around the Seattle biotech community.
Given the historic importance of Icos and its alumni to the growth and future of Seattle biotech, I’m excited to bring together many of the veterans for a special reunion event called “The Icos Impact.” This event will be held the evening of Nov. 27 at the Institute for Systems Biology’s headquarters in South Lake Union. This is modeled after a hit event we did last December for Immunex alumni, who came out in droves to re-connect with old friends and hear what’s new and interesting in Seattle biotech.
We have a great lineup of Icos alumni who have agreed to share some fun and revealing stories about their experiences at Icos in the ‘90s and 2000s. Here’s who you can expect to hear from:
Cliff Stocks, CEO, Theraclone Sciences
Patrick Gray, Scientific Fellow, Omeros
Mike Gallatin, Senior Advisor, Frazier Healthcare Ventures
Susan Sullivan, VP of project management, CMC Biologics
David McElligott, chief scientific officer, Accelerator
Gary Wilcox, CEO, Cocrystal Discovery
Stephanie Florio, scientist, Infectious Disease Research Institute
I’m looking forward to this being one of the most fun events we do all year in Seattle biotech. It’s a chance to re-connect with a lot of familiar faces, and maybe learn a few things about biotech of the past that could be useful in the future. So get your tickets early, and mark your calendars for Nov. 27. See you there at the ISB.
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