Isaly cracks the biotech code
Wed Jan 30, 2008
While most biotech funds have struggled just to survive, Sam Isaly’s OrbiMed has taken off, using a model that ties together venture capital and hedge funds – and bets that big pharma will gobble up biotech firms to build up their pipeline of new drugs.
With venture capital and hedge funds, OrbiMed keeps returns
By Eric Baum
When biotech and healthcare stocks stalled last
year, Sam Isaly, a founding partner of OrbiMed Advisors, would
occasionally swat a battered leather punching bag attached to
the front of his desk. The boxing stance might seem to come
natural: A spinal injury that confines the 62-year-old fund
manager to a wheelchair also closes his hands into loosely
clenched fists, like an aged fighter's.
A year of turmoil kept the punching bag nearby, and by the
end of December, OrbiMed's $1 billion hedge fund, Caduceus
Capital, managed to finish the year up 9.1%, almost double the
Nasdaq Biotechnology Index's 4.58% gain. And that was in spite
of a 4% drop in December for Caduceus.
Isaly's periodic bouts of frustration are understandable.
The past two years have been a difficult slog for many biotech
and healthcare investors....
ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H
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