Seattle Genetics said Monday it had received a $4 million milestone payment from partner Genentech to begin an early clinical trial on its...

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SAN FRANCISCO Seattle Genetics said Monday it had received a $4 million milestone payment from partner Genentech to begin an early clinical trial on its lead blood-cancer drug.

The Bothell company now has received between $80 million and $90 million from the San Francisco biotech giant, including $20 million in milestone payments, said Seattle Genetics Chief Executive Clay Siegall.

The deal, which gives Genentech the U.S. and international rights to commercialize the therapy known as SGN-40, was signed in 2007.

“Genentech committed to paying $20 million in milestones in over two years. We’ve already done that” in one year, Siegall said on the sidelines of the JP Morgan biotech conference in San Francisco.

The cash influx from Genentech last year gave the Seattle area’s second-largest biotech company ample cash to finance its operations.

This year, Seattle Genetics plans to ramp up clinical programs for two other experimental therapies that have had promising results.

The company has 200 employees and plans to hire 50 more this year, Siegall said.

While similar arrangements with big partners could represent a great deal of money, Seattle Genetics may opt for a larger degree of independence in its follow-up products.

“We’re excited to consider an international deal but we’d like to keep the U.S. [rights],” Siegall said.

Seattle Genetics shares closed Monday at $11.14, up 7.32 percent.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com