Exelixis, Inc. is a genomics-based drug discovery company located in Alameda, California, and the producer of Cometriq, a treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medullary thyroid cancer with clinical activity in several other types of metastatic cancer.
Exelixis was founded in 1994; the scientific founders were Spyridon Artavanis–Tsakonas, at Yale at that time, and Corey Goodman and Gerry Rubin who were then at the University of California, Berkeley. George Scangos joined the company as CEO in 1996. The business plan was to use model organisms and functional genomics to identify pathways and biological targets that could be exploited in the fields of agriculture and medicine. It eventually set up a subsidiary, Exelixis Plant Sciences, for the agricultural work.
By 2000 it had left the radical exploratory phase behind and became focused on drug discovery and had a chemical library of 4 million compounds. The company went public that year, after withdrawing its offering the week before; it raised $118 million in a down market.
In 2002 the company signed a broad alliance with GSK to discover new drugs in the fields of cancer, inflammatory diseases, and vascular conditions; GSK paid it $30 million in cash, bought $14 million in stock at twice the market rate, and committed to providing Exelixis with $90 million in research funding; it also offered loan financing of up to $85 million.
Highest paying job titles at Exelixis include Senior Scientist, Software Engineer, and Senior Account Manager