NY’s Newest Neighbors: Waksal & ImClone

When the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences opened along the East River in New York last month, I admit I was skeptical about its prospects given the economic challenges for a small biotech to conduct research in NY. ImClone had signed on as the anchor tenant, but it had for years worked out of older labs in Tribeca—it’s not like they were new to the city. At the opening, one of the Alexandria representatives told me a small company would be moving in shortly, but it sounded like a services firm rather than a biotech or big pharma type. But Alexandria offered up a release today with detail on the first five tenants in the building. ImClone’s first neighbor will be none other than Sam Waksal. That’s right, the former ImClone CEO is planting his first post-jail venture, Kadmon Pharmaceuticals, at Alexandria. It looks like the lunchtime chatter at Tom Coliccio’s ‘witchcraft, on the first floor of the biotech center, just got more interesting. Another intriguing mention in today’s release? News that “a top-tier big pharma scientific collaboration unit for therapeutic innovation,” will soon be a resident. Last month, Pfizer said that University of California, San Francisco, would be the first partner in a network of academic collaborators spanning the globe. Anthony Coyle, head of Pfizer’s Center for Therapeutic Innovation, told me that by the end of the year, the company would be announcing two other partnerships—one in New York, the other in Boston. Notably, Pfizer is opening labs adjacent to UCSF’s campus as part of that pact. Connecting the dots, one has to wonder if Pfizer will soon have some scientists working in Manhattan. Readers? Any guesses about what other big pharma might be eyeing New York as its next research hub. Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Author: Lisa Jarvis

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