In an exclusive and in-depth video interview with Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), Sam Waksal, Ph.D., opined that the biotechnology industry is not truly science focused, and that is a major shortfall. Go to www.genengnews.com/video-channel for the full conversation.
“Science is critical for driving both innovation and further development of the biotech industry,” emphasized Dr. Waksal, founder and former CEO of ImClone Systems in 1984, and now chairman and CEO of Kadmon Corporation, which he founded in 2009. ImClone is located in lower Manhattan and Kadmon is based on 29th Street.
Dr. Waksal went on to say that 30 years ago, the biotech field was so new that there were very few people with any previous experience in the industry. As a research scientist, he said he entered the arena with no fear and thought it would be easy to get a company up and running. ImClone subsequently became a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly in 2008.
“In the early years, everyone focused their companies on recombinant DNA and monoclonal antibodies. Back then, if you had two scientists with a pulse and some test tubes, you could start a biotech company in a garage,” explained Dr. Waksal.
Again bitten by the biotech bug, Dr. Waksal felt confident about launching his second company, Kadmon. “I know the pitfalls by now, and am more circumspect with what works and what doesn’t.” In the interview with GEN, Dr. Waksal also put forth his thoughts about Obamacare and the impact it may have on providing new therapeutics to patients. Also, how likely is it that insurance companies will provide reimbursement for new therapies, such as Kadmon’s.
In the video interview with John Sterling, editor-in chief of GEN, Dr. Waksal explained why Kadmon is different from other biopharmaceutical companies, and described in detail the company’s lead product, KD019, which is in Phase III. He also discussed the other promising therapeutics in the company’s pipeline.
Dr. Waksal also answered the question: Do you think there is a Steve Jobs of Biotechnology?
You can find the interview with Dr. Waksal on the GEN Video Channel at www.genengnews.com/video-channel.