Amid harassment reports from STAT, Orbimed's Sam Isaly suddenly departs

Isaly will be replaced by a management committee.

Orbimed is one of the biggest backers of life science companies in the world with $14 billion in asset management, but today its founder, Sam Isaly, has left the venture capital firm in the same week STAT undertook a damning investigation into his alleged behavior.

Led by Damian Garde for the healthcare and biopharma news site, STAT reported allegations from five women who claimed that between 2000 and 2015, Isaly had “regularly sexually harassed OrbiMed’s female employees, particularly executive assistants. Two of the former employees said he repeatedly exposed female colleagues to pornography in the office. One said Isaly played a prank on her with a sex toy.”

Isaly has denied the allegations, and OrbiMed issued a statement earlier this week to STAT saying it “takes gender equality seriously and wishes to encourage a supportive work environment and equal opportunity for all employees.”

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But a few hours ago STAT reported an on-the-record account of his alleged behavior from Yanping Ren, who worked part-time at OrbiMed for 18 months as an intern, who said Isaly routinely made “vulgar and demeaning remarks to women in the workplace, including commenting on their bodies.”

“It was so normal in the company,” Ren told Garde. “It was like a fact of life that everyone had to accept. Sam just did what he could get away with.”

Orbimed issued a statement late yesterday that said Isaly was now to “step down” “pursuant to years-long succession planning discussions” and did not mention or allude to the allegations against him.

On Twitter, Amit Jolly said after Isaly announced his departure last night: “Proud of my wife, @ypr321 [Yanping Ren], offering on the record sexual harassment allegations against @OrbiMed’s Sam Isaly, leading to his retirement. She was an intern and thought this is the norm. Very proud of the people who spoke up. Exc reporting, @statnews @damiangarde Via Yanping: #MeToo.”

Isaly will be replaced as managing partner by a management committee composed of Sven H. Borho, Carl L. Gordon, and Jonathan T. Silverstein.