GeekWire Health Tech
GeekWire Health Tech
Inside Seattle's life sciences boom
48 minutes Posted Oct 19, 2021 at 3:30 pm.
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Five years ago, when Dr. Leslie Alexandre arrived in Seattle to lead the industry group Life Science Washington, she found a community in a mild state of shock.

"One of the real challenges was our ecosystem had tons of great research going on, and many wonderful companies, but I think our industry was a little bit in the doldrums in 2016, in part because Amgen had just completed moving out of Elliott Bay," she said. "It started in 2014. And when I arrived, it was just the last people."

Amgen was the giant that five years earlier acquired Seattle’s homegrown biotech standout Immunex, known for developing the Enbrel arthritis drug, still widely prescribed to this day. Immunex was based on a big waterfront campus, which today is home to Expedia Group’s global headquarters. But there had been hopes in the local community that Amgen would maintain and even expand its operations in the region after the Immunex acquisition.

"And having it move away was kind of, 'Oh my gosh, one more company, one more great company created here in Seattle, breathtaking research commercialization. And now it's gone," Alexandre said.

But that’s just the beginning of the story. On this episode of the GeekWire Health Tech Podcast, what happened next, and where the Seattle region’s life sciences industry stands today.

Our guest, Leslie Alexandre is the President and CEO at life science, Washington, an organization that aims to put Washington state at the forefront of global life science innovation, who recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the year. The organization is holding its annual Washington State Life Science Summit virtually this week, Thursday Oct. 21.

Dr. Alexandre received her Doctorate of Public Health from UCLA and has held leadership roles at startups, Fortune 500 companies, research institutions and non-profit organizations. She ran the North Carolina Biotechnology Center from 2002-2007.

Episode produced and edited by GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop, with reporting and research by Charlotte Schubert, GeekWire health and life sciences reporter, who also joins us on this episode.

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