Wascally Waksal

Though not strictly a science story, the Wall Street Journal has a devastating profile this morning of Sam Waksal, founder of ImClone. It’s a warning not only for directors of technology-based companies, but for investors and the media, who can be charmed by one person with a winning personality and a compelling story (in this case a promising cancer-fighting molecule). Terrific digging by reporter Geeta Anand reveals a string of research jobs from which Waksal was ousted for misleading and sometimes falsified results. Do yourself a favor and read this one through to the end. Suddenly Martha Stewart’s alleged insider trading of ImClone stock seems like the least of anyone’s worries about Waksal.

From an ImClone press release:

ImClone Systems, Inc. Issues Statement Regarding Actions taken against Fomer President and CEO Samuel D. Waksal, PhD

NEW YORK, Jun 12, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) — ImClone Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMCL) said today that it was aware that its former president and chief executive officer Samuel D. Waksal, Ph.D., was arrested this morning by the FBI acting on behalf of the office of United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York, and that the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against Dr. Samuel Waksal.

The Company reiterated that it intends to continue to cooperate fully with the SEC, the United States Department of Justice and the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the course of their respective inquiries.

ImClone Systems Incorporated is committed to advancing oncology care by developing a portfolio of targeted biologic treatments, designed to address the medical needs of patients with a variety of cancers. The Company’s three programs include growth factor blockers, cancer vaccines and angiogenesis inhibitors. ImClone Systems’ strategy is to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company, taking its development programs from the research stage to the market. ImClone Systems is headquartered in New York with manufacturing facilities in Somerville, New Jersey.

The matters discussed in this news release may include forward-looking statements which involve potential risks and uncertainties. Important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties associated with completing pre-clinical and clinical trials of the Company’s compounds that demonstrate such compounds’ safety and effectiveness; obtaining additional financing to support the Company’s operations; obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval for such compounds and complying with other governmental regulations applicable to the Company’s business; obtaining the raw materials necessary in the development of such compounds; consummating collaborative arrangements with corporate partners for product development; achieving milestones under collaborative arrangements with corporate partners; developing the capacity to manufacture, market and sell the Company’s products, either directly or with collaborative partners; developing market demand for and acceptance of such products; competing effectively with other pharmaceutical and biotechnological products; obtaining adequate reimbursement from third party payers; attracting and retaining key personnel; obtaining patent protection for discoveries and risks associated with commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: ImClone Systems Incorporated, New York Andrea F. Rabney or Jason E. Farber, 646/638-5058 or Abernathy MacGregor, New York Andrew Merrill or David Pitts, 212/371-5999

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