Who can forget Sam Waksal? The former ceo at ImClone Systems, which is now part of Eli Lilly, became notorious for his role in the insider trading scandal that sent his friend, the ubiquitous Martha Stewart, to jail. Sam, of course, did some time as well, but he's been out nearly two years now and scouring once again for a biotech bargain. And he believes he has found one inThree Rivers Pharmaceuticals.
A few months after raising a reported $50 million or so from investors to form Kadmon Pharmaceuticals (see this), Sam's Kadmon has announced that it acquired the privately held drugmaker, which specializes in hepatitis C treatments.
"Kadmon is building a new paradigm for bringing pioneering medicines to market more rapidly and cost effectively. This includes the simultaneous execution of a dual strategy, combining an operating commercial business with novel compounds at various stages of clinical development," Sam says in a statement. Not surprisingly, he went after a privately held company.
You may recall that, after Waksal was convicted in 2002 of securities fraud, bank fraud, obstruction of justice and perjury, he paid $4.3 million in fines, served five years in prison and was barred by the US Securities and Exchange Commission from serving as a director or officer of any public company. Of course, Sam can use Kadmon and remain a behind-the-scenes strategist to build a little empire. Who knows where it will wind up?
“There’s no scientist out there that has been wary of me,” he told New York magazine last year. “And guys in the venture-capital world I dealt with before - it’s as if I wasn’t gone a day!” Modesty and discretion are not obvious traits, but money is money, after all. No point in calling your broker right now, but if you had a chance to invest with Sam what would you do?