Health/Life Sciences

Seagen CEO and co-founder Clay Siegall resigns following home violence arrest

Clay Siegall. (Seagen Photo)

Clay Siegall has resigned as CEO and chairman of Seagen in the midst of domestic violence allegations, more than 24 years after the biotech veteran helped start the publicly traded Seattle-area company.

Siegall took a leave of absence one week ago after the company said it was investigating the allegations. Police records showed that Siegall was arrested at his home on April 23 on charges of fourth degree domestic violence gross misdemeanor after he allegedly assaulted his wife.

Seagen on Monday accepted Siegall’s resignation as president, CEO, and board member, effective May 15. The company said in a press release that the board and Siegall “agreed it is in the best interests of Seagen and its stakeholders for him to resign at this time.”

“Dr. Siegall’s resignation has not been driven by findings from the investigation,” Seagen said in its statement.

Siegall will receive a severance equal to 1.5 times the sum of his annual salary and target annual bonus opportunity for 2022, according to a regulatory filing. He earned $18.9 million in total compensation last year, according to Seagen’s 2021 proxy report, including $1.1 million in his 2021 base salary, along with a $1.7 million annual cash incentive award and a $15.8 million annual equity award.

Seagen is also accelerating Siegall’s outstanding and unvested restricted stock unit and stock option awards by an additional 18 months. He agreed to a deferral of his severance payments until March 13, 2023, and agreed to cooperate with any company investigation until Dec. 31 of this year.

Roger Dansey, Seagen’s chief medical officer who took over last week, will continue as interim CEO as the company searches for a permanent CEO. Felix Baker, previously lead independent director, has been appointed chair of the board.

Seagen said last week it formed a committee of independent directors to investigate the allegations against Siegall, with help from an independent law firm. The investigation is ongoing.

Siegall also resigned as chair of Seattle-area biotech company Umoja Biopharma last week. On Monday, Nurix Therapeutics also announced that Siegall had resigned from its board.

Shares of Seagen were up more than 3% on Monday and have risen more than 20% since Siegall took a leave of absence on May 9.

According to police records, officers responded to a call on April 23 from Siegall’s wife, who told 911 dispatch that her husband was hurting her and pushed her to the floor at the couple’s 11,663 square-foot home in Woodway, Wash., near the Seattle suburb of Edmonds.

Police arrived at the front door and Siegall’s wife was completely naked, the police records say. Officers observed abrasions on her forehead and knees. Another man, who was at the home with his own wife, also called police and said he witnessed Siegall assaulting his wife, according to records.

Both Siegall and his wife appeared intoxicated, according to the police report. The other man said all parties involved had sexual relations after going out to dinner earlier in the evening, according to the report.

Siegall told police he never touched his wife, the police report said. Officers established probable cause for domestic violence and arrested Siegall, who was booked in Snohomish County Jail. He was released April 24.

Siegall, 61, has denied allegations and informed Seagen that he is engaged in a divorce, according to the company’s press release last week.

Siegall has been the company’s CEO since he co-founded the company, then called Seattle Genetics, in 1998. The company’s first oncology drug, Adcetris, was approved in 2011, and it now has four commercial products and employs 2,800 people in the Seattle area, Canada, Switzerland, and Europe. New plans are also in place to build a 270,000 square foot manufacturing facility north of Seattle. Seagen’s market value is $20 billion and it reported $1.6 billion in revenue last year.

“As we move forward, the Board has great confidence in the leadership of Roger Dansey, the senior management team and the nearly 3,000 employees to continue Seagen’s impressive growth trajectory,” Baker said in the press release. “Seagen remains strong, our future is bright, and we are on track to achieve several important milestones over the remainder of 2022 and beyond. Dr. Siegall co-founded Seagen in 1998 with a vision to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people with cancer by developing targeted therapies to treat unmet medical needs. Today, Seagen is a leading developer of cancer medicines, with four approved products and a robust pipeline of innovative therapies.”

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