Harlan Waksal backs a fledgling cancer drug developer

The brother of the infamous Samuel Waksal and a co-founder of ImClone has helped put up $11.5 million for a fledgling biotech company preparing to launch an early-stage study of a new therapy for multiple myeloma.

Harlan Waksal--who abruptly left his job as chief scientific officer of ImClone the same week in 2003 when his brother headed to prison on a stock manipulation conviction--and Christopher Forbes were listed in a press release as two board members of New Brunswick, NJ-based Senesco Technologies who contributed a big part of the new investment.

"We are grateful for the support that the institutional and private investors who are participating in this financing are providing to us," said Dr. Waksal, Senesco's chairman. "With the near-term funding overhang removed, our sole focus is now on completing the steps necessary to advance our multiple myeloma drug candidate into and through a Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial."

Waksal had served the bulk of his tenure at ImClone as COO, but left soon after he was demoted to chief scientific officer. The demotion followed by his quick departure allowed him to pocket a $4.1 million payment and vesting his 666,666 stock option. Senesco has been working on new technology that can trigger or delay cell death in mammals--apoptosis--to determine if the technology is applicable in humans.

- check out the press release