Seattle Genetics? Not anymore. The biotech has shortened its name to Seagen to illustrate global expansion
Would a Seattle Genetics by any other name smell as sweet? We’re about to find out.
The biotech announced Thursday it’s changing its name to Seagen, capping off what’s been a 12-month period in which it closed a $4.5 billion deal with Merck and saw two drugs get FDA approval. Seagen is also keeping the same Wall Street ticker — $SGEN.
CEO Clay Siegall said the company made the change to represent its expanding global operations.
“Our goal is to help cancer patients around the world,” Siegall said. “It is, to us, better to be reflected as a biotechnology company that makes cancer products for the globe, and as we’ve expanded it makes sense.
“Cancer patients don’t have boundaries or borders,” he added.
On top of all that, Seagen presented positive Phase II data at ESMO just a few weeks ago. The company’s experimental drug tisotumab vedotin, an antibody-drug conjugate created on its flagship tech, showed an average response lasting 8.3 months and an objective response rate of 24% in 101 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.
Though it was a single-arm trial, Seagen compared the results to data suggesting existing therapies “typically” have a response rate of less than 15% and patients survive for 6 to 9.4 months.
So why change things up now? Siegall said that the company had already been calling itself Seagen internally and internationally, pointing to its “seagen.com” email addresses in use since inception and overseas affiliates such as Seagen France. By shortening the name, Siegall said, Seagen not only makes things less cumbersome but also lets the company stay attached to its Seattle roots.
“We definitely are proud of our Pacific Northwest roots; Seattle is known as the Emerald City and that’s why green is in our logo,” Siegall said. “While we are retaining our strong roots and the ‘S-E-A’ in our name, this expansion really makes it, we feel, a more appropriate name for a global company.”
Siegall likened it somewhat to the delivery service Federal Express shrinking its name to FedEx in the mid-1990s. Though the two companies “have no semblance of comparison,” Siegall said, Seagen is adopting a nickname that’s been the unofficial moniker for years and keeping the same colors in its logo.
At the end of the day, though, this rebranding won’t change anything about Seagen’s business. Siegall talked at length about how the new name signifies Seagen is an international company, but emphasized that its cancer products remain its true brand.
“This is not something where we are trying to overstate our name change as something more than what it is,” Siegall said. “This is a minor change, but something that we think is good going forward and very productive. I don’t think anyone should view this as ‘Seattle Genetics is doing something different.’”