Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Latest on Sam Waksal - ImClone's Founder

For cancer patients, any word of the possible release down the road of Sam Waksal is likely to be celebrated.  The latest word on his status is seen in an article by Beth Landman in the Intelligencer titled, Sam Waksal's Return to New York.

Waksal was the founder of ImClone, a company that produced a drug called Erbitrux. But the FDA's initial disapproval and his activities following that disapproval led to his conviction for insider trading. He stepped down as President and CEO in 2002 stating:

"Serving as Chief Executive Officer of ImClone Systems has been an honor and a privilege for the past eighteen years. In light of recent events and the distractions they have caused, I am withdrawing myself from the daily operation of the Company in the confidence that ImClone Systems will be able to maintain its focus on the advancement of our clinical development and research programs. I fully believe that our product candidates, the most advanced of which is ERBITUX(TM), will have a profound effect on the way that patients with cancer are treated." (see here)

The sad part of the events is that Waksal was thereafter incarcerated.  The FDA finally approved ImClone's drug in 2004 (see here), but Waksal went to prison.

It is good to see that he may be able to return to assisting the development of cancer drugs.  Those who go to prison are likely to be changed by the experience, but few are able to leave with little damage to their reputation.  Whether Sam Waksal is in this select group remains to be seen. 

(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Jack King)

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