Tech Moves: Seagen names new CEO; Amazon hires director of corporate development; and more

Seattle biotech giant Seagen has appointed a new CEO, David Epstein, a former executive at Novartis. Epstein also joined the company’s board of directors.

Epstein take the helm of the company six months after Seagen co-founder and longtime CEO Clay Siegall resigned from the role in the wake of allegations of domestic abuse and an incident at his home where he was arrested. Siegall, who helped launch Seagen in 1998, has denied the allegations.

Epstein has more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including 25 years at Novartis, where he built the company’s oncology business unit up from its from inception, ultimately serving as CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a division of Novartis AG.

Most recently, Epstein was an executive partner at Flagship Pioneering, the Boston-based venture capital firm that bankrolled Moderna Therapeutics and is known for its hands-on approach to fostering startups.

“David’s demonstrated ability to build and scale a global oncology business, his experience in both large multi-faceted organizations and small biotechnology startups, combined with deep oncology knowledge, provide the strategic and operational expertise needed to lead Seagen to the next level,” said Seagen board chair Felix Baker in a statement Thursday announcing the appointment.

Roger Dansey, who served as the company’s chief medical officer since 2018 and as interim CEO since May, is now president of research and development. He also will continue to serve as chief medical officer. In addition, the company appointed oncologist Sandra Swain, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and vice president of genetic medicine for MedStar Health, to its board of directors.

Seagen was reportedly in talks earlier this year with Merck over a potential acquisition, which reportedly stalled over the price.

Bothell-Wash.-based Seagen employs more than 2,800 people in the Seattle area and its other locations and brought in $510 million in revenue in the third quarter of 2022. The company has four approved cancer therapies on the market, more than two dozen candidates in clinical trials, and announced plans earlier this year to build a new manufacturing facility north of Seattle.

Other key personnel changes across the Pacific Northwest tech industry:

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