Convicted ImClone Systems Boss Becomes Chief Of Innovation At Kadmon Corporation While Brother Harlan W. Waksal, M.D Takes CEO Post

Published: Sep 26, 2014

Convicted ImClone Systems Boss Becomes Chief Of Innovation At Kadmon Corporation While Brother Harlan W. Waksal, M.D Takes CEO Post

September 25, 2014

By Jessica Wilson, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Kadmon Corporation, LLC, the New York, NY-based biopharmaceutical company, announced yesterday that Samuel Waksal has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer and will be replaced by Harlan Waksal, his brother, who has served on the board since April 2014. Samuel Waksal will remain with Kadmon as Chief of Innovation, Science and Strategy.

The Waksal brothers have had a long career in the biotech space, which included founding ImClone Systems Incorporated, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company. The career has been marked with scandal, however, for Samuel Waksal, who was convicted on charges of insider trading, and served a five-year sentence. (To put this in context, he was involved in the same scandal that put Martha Stewart in federal prison.) As part of his 2003 settlement with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, Samuel Waksal agreed to a lifetime ban on helming a publicly traded company.

The change in leadership at Kadmon Corporation could be a step to prepare the company for an IPO, which could not take place with Samuel Waksal as CEO. In the press release announcing the leadership change, Kadmon stated, “While the company is continuing to explore its strategic and financial opportunities, including an initial public offering, no specific timelines have been set.”

Despite the coy statement, Samuel Waksal has not been shy about stating his determination for a Kadmon IPO. In fact, yesterday, he said in an interview with CNBC that the company plans to file a form S-1 with the SEC by the end of 2014, which is a preparatory step in an IPO.

In addition, as early as September 2013, he told Bloomberg, “We haven’t seen a biotech market like this since 2000. You get these windows, you get companies funded, you get shareholders that are interested in an approach, a strategy, a technology, a management team, and often, you really get big winners."

In the press release, Harlan Waksal expressed his enthusiasm for, “building on the foundation of forward-thinking science, clinical research, and product pipeline, including our current clinical candidates, envisioned and put together by Sam and our management team.”

Kadmon currently offers treatments for liver diseases, with a pipeline that includes novel medicines in the areas of oncology, immunology and infectious, neurodegenerative and ophthalmic diseases. The company’s research targets the metabolomics and signaling pathways associated with disease.

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