Waksal making big development plans for his new biotech venture

Whatever else anyone had to say about Sam Waksal (photo)--and there was always plenty--he had few peers when it comes to touting the prospects of a biotech company. Now with his five-year prison stint for insider trading receding in the background, the ex-con is back in visionary mode, telling New York Times writer Andrew Pollack that his new biotech company will be bigger and better than ImClone ever was.

"You'll see a company that next year will be doing significant revenues in a growth area, with earnings, probably five Phase III programs and a couple of Phase II products," Waksal told Pollack. And his recent $100 million deal to buy Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals is being followed today by a licensing pact covering a hepatitis C drug from Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

At least up until a few days ago Waksal had been able to grab a little more than $10 million of the $50 million to $175 million he had been hoping to gain from a private placement. But a spokesperson tells Pollack that Waksal has lined up more than $200 million from debt and equity offerings.

Waksal may have violated his investors' trust with the notorious insider trading scandal involving Martha Stewart, but at the end of the day he made money. The prospect that he can do it again is bringing his old fan base back to the party.

- check out the NYT article