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News Beat Oct 2018
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News Beat August 2018 - Life Science Washington
October 2018

You are part of a vibrant community of life science professionals. This newsletter helps keep you connected to that community and informs you of industry news, transactions, and upcoming events.

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Mark Alles Celgene

"Celgene's acquisition of Juno underscores the significant expertise in the region and illustrates why it is rapidly becoming a major center for the life sciences."

Mark Alles, Chairman & CEO, Celgene


Mr. Alles is keynoting the 2018 Washington State Life Science Summit on October 26th at the Meydenbauer Center. We were fortunate to have him answer a couple of questions about the Juno Therapeutics acquisition, the workforce pipeline problem, and the future of cancer research.

LSW: In January of this year, Celgene Corporation purchased Juno Therapeutics. What does the Celgene acquisition of Juno mean to Washington State and the region?

Mr. Alles: We acquired Juno because of our shared vision and expertise in discovering, developing and delivering medicines for patients with high unmet needs, and together we are stronger. We believe that same opportunity exists for Celgene and the broader Seattle community and surrounding region. For more than a decade, Celgene has worked with Seattle-based academic experts in the field of T cell biology to advance our clinical research and therapeutic pipeline. Our acquisition of Juno underscores the significant expertise in the region and illustrates why it is rapidly becoming a major center for the life sciences. We’re excited to partner with local leaders, organizations, and communities moving forward as we strive to develop transformative therapies that can change the course of human health.

LSW: When the former CEO of Juno, Hans Bishop, informed Juno employees of the Celgene acquisition he wrote that Seattle would be the “world-wide center of excellence for cell therapy and immune-oncology for Celgene.” How have you advanced this vision since the acquisition?

Mr. Alles: With the Juno acquisition, we are now able to advance not just a single product, but a powerful pipeline that has been fueled by some of the best and brightest research and development conducted right here in Seattle. The Seattle team continues to advance liso-cel, one of Celgene’s five most important late-stage products in development, with additional resources and insights from around Celgene. Notably, our Research and Early Development Immuno-Oncology and Cellular Therapy Thematic Center of Excellence is based in Seattle and composed of teams originally from Celgene and Juno, integrated into a single, collaborative research organization. There’s no doubt this acquisition has enhanced our existing portfolio and further solidified our global leadership, and Seattle’s role, in cancer treatment. This ambition is why we acquired Juno and why our colleague Hans Bishop remains part of our shared success as a member of Celgene’s Board of Directors.

LSW: More and more we hear leaders in our industry, such as Dr. Gary Gilliand, President and Director of Fred Hutch, talk about curing cancer and not just treating it. Do you believe cures are forthcoming for most of our leading cancers and if so, how is Celgene contributing to this revolution?

Mr. Alles: Curing cancer is what we work towards at Celgene every day, and we are getting closer with each new therapy. That said, many challenges remain as we seek a cure, and we are realistic about those obstacles. With each new treatment, we are rendering old treatments obsolete and producing better outcomes. That’s progress and it’s incredibly exciting for our patients.

LSW: One of Celgene’s guiding principles is having an engaged workforce. Like many STEM industries, life science companies throughout the nation are facing significant skills gaps and workforce shortages. How is Celgene tackling the talent pipeline challenge and how can our local companies join with you to ensure the workforce needs of our fast-growing companies are met?

Mr. Alles: We will be unable to develop and deliver next generation cancer treatments without a highly skilled, innovative and diverse workforce. It’s essential to recruit and retain the best talent, but we also must make sure that talent exists in the first place. With a number of high-quality educational institutions in the Seattle area, this region is well positioned to continue producing the highly skilled workforce that today’s life science companies need to innovate for patients. As an example, manufacturing cellular therapies is increasingly complex, because each dose is personalized to an individual patient. We are manufacturing liso-cel in Bothell, benefiting from the talent and expertise fostered in this region. We look forward to continuing to partner with local governments and communities to ensure the best and brightest can be educated and have opportunities right here in the Seattle area.

LSW: Most readers think they know who Celgene is and what its mission is. What is something significant about Celgene most people don’t know, but you would like them to?

Mr. Alles: Patients drive what we do every day and we come to work to change the course of human health through bold pursuits in science. Our actions reinforce this purpose – in 2017, we reinvested 45.5% of our revenue (more than $5B) back into R&D. We are completely committed to improving and extending the lives of patients with serious unmet needs.



Welcome New Life Science Washington Members


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Washington State Life Science Summit 2018

Register today for The Washington State Life Science Summit!
Registration, Networking and Breakfast: 7:00 - 7:45 AM
Program: 7:45 - 10:30 AM
Summit Highlights include:
  • Keynote address by Mark Alles, Chairman & CEO Celgene
  • A panel discussion among life science CEOs Gustavo Mahler (AGC Biologics) and Sean McClain (AbSci), UW Bothell Assistant Vice Chancellor Government and Community Relations, Kelly Snyder, and Senator Guy Palumbo focused on meeting our life science industry workforce challenges.
  • A preview of Life Science Washington’s new PR campaign, created to build visibility for Washington’s life science industry across the state and beyond.
  • Awarding of LSW’s 2018 Innovator of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
  • Opportunity to connect with 350 of your colleagues and friends!
Register Today!


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October 18


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October 18th, Life Science Washington is hosting it's 2nd to last Networking Night for 2018. It's a great way to expand your professional network and make new friends with similar interests. Beer, wine, and light snacks served.

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Life Science Washington Institute

Washington State Transactions by Industry


Washington State Investment Activity

Each month, the Life Science Washington Institute compiles an investment activity report summarizing transactions and trends in Washington's life science community. The report includes a continually updated list of angel funding, VC deals, M&A activity, and strategic partnership formations.

Life Science Washington hosts a lot of events throughout the year.


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