Mission: Improving the lives of people with cancer through innovative and empowered antibody based therapies.
I have been working at Seattle Genetics full-time (More than 3 years)
Can be exposed to interesting work and can be stimulating
Top heavy, Very political, Say one thing and do another
Advice to Management
Realize the people that do the work and are honest, then you wont be surprised by last minutes upsets
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Seattle Genetics (Seattle, WA (US)) in April 2017.
The company HR personnel approached me to see if I would be interested in AD position in Business Development since I had necessary expertise that they were looking for. I was informed that they were having trouble getting candidates since it includes move to Seattle and therefore the position was open from long time. I wasn't actively looking for opportunities and at the outset it seemed like a good opportunity so I decided to interview, however, I only found out how wrong I was after finishing the interviews. It all turned out a waste of time and I eventually declined the very good offer (from Compensation perspective) they gave me and would highly recommend everyone to stay away from this company and this position due to its outdated technology, dysfunctional team environment, backward thinking scientific and management team which is not open to newer outside technologies. Its not conducive environment for a BD professional to learn, do deals and make impact
1) SGEN's ADC technology is outdated and unproven outside of HL with Adcetris. All of their attempts over years have failed in solid tumors and even liquid tumors outside of HL. Additionally, this technology's (MMAE and MMAF) patents are expiring relatively soon, so if SGEN doesn't find other ways to innovate it has no future. Other competitors (DSI, Immunogen and Mersana) are innovating are already ahead of the curve.
2) Given the outdated ADC technology you would expect the organization (Scientists and Management) to actively look outwards for new technologies to grow their platform. However, I found out during the interviews that Senior Scientists and even management is reluctant to do deals and look at other technologies. Any attempts to bring in new ideas are met with skepticism and held to much higher standards than their own internal pipeline. Being a company led by founder CEO who is married to ADC technology makes it extremely difficult to innovate in such environment and not good place for BD professional who has to constantly try to thread the needle and face potential disappointment on loosing good deals that you bring in after lot of hard work
3) It was very apparent that the team is inward focus and doesn't want to look outside. There is no strategic planning done at SGEN and scientists including the CEO decide which molecules go ahead and churn more and more ADC molecules in the world of immuno-oncology where they may not be relevant. There is no concerted effort to look at oncology landscape and study the white space to ascertain if developing a molecule would be commercially attractive. However, by their own admission during interviews I learned that they just churn out molecules from targets that they can use and exploit in ADCs with their technology, sure recipe for disaster and subpar returns in long term on the pipeline R&D dollars
4) The team seemed pretty dysfunctional, one Director in R&D that I spoke to was bad mouthing one of their asset in Phase 3 (33A) and betting that it most likely will fail. I dont know if it was due to territorial/ownership reasons within organization or if it was really true (If true may actually explain their play to acquire late stage asset from Immunomedics which has gone south and resulted in lawsuits). One Dir in Management was very abrasive and was trying to make me fall on my face with constant interruptions, uptight attitude and trying to belittle my experience. I was asked questions like, how would you deal if member of Senior Management were to scream and yell at you. I appreciate the honesty but this is not a work environment I look forward to working in and I was already looking forward to running out of there with such line of questioning
5) The BD opportunity involved looking for more technology supporting their outdated ADC technology (new linkers etc. ) and support on other matters. The BD team is not as strong with members themselves lacking good understanding of current oncology landscape and science behind them. I was asked multiple times what types of technologies I would look at and they were writing down my responses and their follow-up questions suggested no basic understanding of the current landscape. They recently overpaid for the questionable Unum technology platform and got themselves into lawsuit over Immunomedics deal
Overall, at outset it seems like good opportunity but would not recommend it since it focuses on enhancing their outdated ADC technology, working in dysfunctional team where everybody is very inwards focused and not receptive to new ideas (this is antithesis of BD role) and questionable future. I regret my decision to go for interview there, it was waste of time but I would never have found out about all these details from outside, so hopefully this is helpful to other candidates.
Reasons for Declining
I didnt like the organization, team and the role
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