The pharmaceutical industry has always been notoriously risky. As one of the most capital-intensive businesses in the world, it requires massive investment in order to obtain FDA approval of drugs. However, this process is fraught with peril, oftentimes resulting in drug after drug failing to achieve final FDA approval. Ultimately, these costs are borne by the company and then passed on to the consumer.

Few people realize the complexity of the drug approval process. Between multiple phases of clinical trials and the actual research and development costs for new drugs, pharmaceutical companies are required to spend more on actively creating new products than companies in any other industry in the world. A pharmaceutical company that makes a string of bad bets on drugs that ultimately fail to become FDA-approved will face almost certain bankruptcy and demise .

But the rewards are also great for success. This is why some of the best pharmaceutical CEOs are paid so handsomely. It takes real talent and a profound understanding of the product to successfully lead a major pharmaceutical company in today’s highly fluid, cutthroat markets. Having an eye for picking the right drugs, which will ultimately be most likely to be approved by the FDA, is a crucial skill for anyone leading a pharmaceutical company in modern America.

Clay Siegall is just one of these people. As someone who had made a name for himself as one of the nation’s top cancer researchers, prior to ever having founded his own pharmaceutical company, Dr. Siegall had both the pedigree and experience to position himself as one of the top pharmaceutical CEOs in the country. And he has parlayed this experience and expertise admirably, leading his firm, Seattle Genetics, on to become one of the leaders in the development and sales of antibody drug conjugates, a new class of targeted cancer therapy using antibodies to deliver highly cytotoxic chemicals directly to the site of cancer cells.

Dr. Siegall has also diversified his revenue streams, licensing out more than 20 patented drugs and processes as well as having 12 drugs currently in the development pipeline. Under his leadership, the future of Seattle Genetics has never looked brighter.

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