Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HCV: A New Drug Enterprise For The Convicted Sam Waksal ?

Sam Waksal, is the former CEO of ImClone Systems, whose insider trading lead to spending time in prison along with Martha Stewart, remember? Announced today; "Waksal said his drug company Kadmon Pharmaceuticals has bought the privately held Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, and that its treatments for hepatitis C, infections and cancer will be the backbone of his new enterprise".
Why am I so agitated? It holds little merit knowing the real importance is in developing drugs to treat cancer and HCV. Still, I remain annoyed this man may profit in his venture after being deemed once as deceitful . Just putting it out there folks.
Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:16pm EDT
By Ransdell Pierson

NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Sam Waksal, the former chief executive of ImClone Systems Inc, whose insider trading scam sent him and Martha Stewart to prison, on Monday announced an acquisition meant to catapult him back into the biotech game.
Waksal said his drug company Kadmon Pharmaceuticals has bought the privately held Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, and that its treatments for hepatitis C, infections and cancer will be the backbone of his new enterprise.
"Hepatitis treatment is on the verge of major change," Waksal said in a release. "With Three Rivers as a cornerstone, Kadmon will play an important role in the evolution of this global market."
Kadmon did not provide financial details, although the Wall Street Journal valued the deal at more than $100 million. Waksal said Kadmon will keep Three Rivers' headquarters in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, and its manufacturing, distribution, commercial and administrative operations.
Waksal was convicted in 2002 of securities fraud, bank fraud, obstruction of justice and perjury. After paying $4.3 million in fines and serving five years in prison, he was released in February 2009.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission barred Waksal from serving as a director or officer of any public company.
Three Rivers sells hepatitis C drugs, including the Infergen brand of interferon and its Ribasphere and RibaPak brands of the anti-viral drug ribavirin. But the products have tiny sales compared to leading interferons and ribavirins sold by drugmakers Merck & Co (MRK.N) and Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX) for liver disease.
Three Rivers also sells Amphotec for treatment of invasive aspergillosis, a dangerous systemic fungal infection, and a generic form of AstraZeneca Plc's (AZN.L) breast cancer treatment Arimidex (anastrozole). And it is developing new cancer medicines.
Neither Waksal nor Three Rivers could be immediately reached for comment.
Kadmon, whose lead investor is SBI Holdings Inc of Japan, said the Three Rivers purchase was financed through debt and equity capital.
Waksal, an immunologist, founded New York-based ImClone in 1984 and spearheaded development of its Erbitux drug for colon cancer. But when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration initially rejected the drug, Waksal tipped off relatives and friends to sell their ImClone shares before the rejection was made public.
Regulators became suspicious when his father and daughter sold $9.2 million of ImClone shares, and eventually arrested Waksal for attempting to dump his own shares and tipping off the others.
Updated Nov 2
Waksal inks pair of hepatitis C pacts for his start-up
November 2, 2010 — 9:46am ET By John Carroll
Sam Waksal (photo) got a chance to flex his long neglected deal-making muscles with a pair of pacts with Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) that will help the ex-con build up a hepatitis C franchise as Valeant exits the R&D side of that business.
Waksal's start-up, Kadmon, gained most of the world rights to develop and commercialize taribavirin in exchange for $5 million upfront, unspecified milestones and a royalty stream that will scale between 8 percent and 12 percent. And Valeant gained some European commercial rights to all dosages of ribavirin for $7.5 million. That drug will now be marketed in Valeant's package of branded generics.

Valeant Chief Executive Michael Pearson has been moving out of development activities for hepatitis C as the company, created from the merger of Biovail and Valeant, restructures its R&D side to focus on CNS and dermatology.

"Kadmon is building upon its commercial platform in hepatitis C through expanded global distribution and the addition of complementary products," said Waksal, who spent five years in prison for his role in a notorious insider trading scandal. "Our agreements with Valeant achieve milestones for both of these objectives. Taribavirin completes our ribavirin franchise and will ensure its future sustainability and growth. We have also expanded our global distribution network for ribavirin into markets in which Valeant is a leading provider.

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