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Sep 20, 2013

GEN Reports on Downfall of a Once Biotech King

  • New Rochelle, NY, September 19, 2013—Talking about the “demons that afflict people with bipolar disorder” and “his inability to admit defeat,” former high-flying biotech financier David Blech spoke to GEN in his New York City apartment just before beginning a prison term for fraudulent stock trading activity.

    The GEN interview with Blech can be found here.

    Blech, who played a key role in helping to start Genetic Systems, Celgene, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and Icos, has been sentenced to spend four years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, NJ. Back in 1998, he received five years’ probation, partly due to his bipolar disorder, after being convicted of securities fraud. When asked why he made almost the same mistake twice, he replied that “The desire to recreate my past was too overwhelming and made me easy prey to the demons that afflict people with bipolar disorder. It was also due to my inability to admit defeat.”

    Blech spent much of the interview retelling his early involvement in the growing biotech industry of the 1980s and early 1990s. Referring to his family’s role in helping to engineer the $300 million takeover of Genetic Systems by Bristol-Myers Squibb, he noted that, because of that deal, “The Blechs became famous on Wall Street, I was known as a whiz kid, and I had $30 million in the bank.”

    The mid-1990s, however, marked the beginning of the end for him. He borrowed millions to invest in speculative stocks and “was burning through a million dollars a month.”

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