This content is from: Corner Office

Founder of Hedge Fund OrbiMed Steps Down

Samuel Isaly’s resignation is a result of succession planning, according to an OrbiMed announcement two days after a report about sexual harassment allegations against him.

  • By Alicia McElhaney

Samuel Isaly, founder of biotech hedge fund OrbiMed Advisors, is stepping down from his role as managing partner.

OrbiMed said December 7 that Isaly’s decision to leave the firm is the result of “years-long succession planning discussions.” He will be replaced by a management committee that includes Sven Borho, Carl Gordon and Jonathan Silverstein, according to the statement.

The New York-based hedge fund’s announcement that Isaly, 72, is retiring follows a report this week from Stat, a healthcare-focused news site, that several former OrbiMed employees have accused him of sexual harassment. Stat said in its report that Isaly denied the allegations. A spokesperson for OrbiMed declined to comment on them.

Female interns and assistants at OrbiMed alleged that Isaly told them dirty jokes in emails, and showed them unwanted pornography while at work, according to the December 5 Stat report. The allegations come at a time of national upheaval over sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, with accusations from women accumulating across industries after a New York Times report in October exposed such allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

OrbiMed’s statement celebrates Isaly’s achievements, saying the $14 billion hedge fund firm that he founded in 1998 has consistently beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for about 25 years. “I am extremely proud of what my distinguished partners and I have accomplished at OrbiMed and the difference we have made in the lives of patients worldwide,” Isaly said in the statement.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System and California State Teachers’ Retirement System are among the institutional investors that have contributed capital to OrbiMed’s funds.

CalSTRS has committed $40 million each to OrbiMed Private Investments IV, L.P. OrbiMed’s fourth and OrbiMed Private Investments V, according to a document from the pension fund.

“CalSTRS expects that investment managers and partners within our portfolio conduct all aspects of their business operations and practices ethically and responsibly,” a spokesperson for CalSTRS said via email. “We engage with our relationships regularly and monitor any allegations of questionable practices. We will be reaching out to the general partner for more information regarding these allegations.”

CalPERS’ investments in OrbiMed are through a fund-of-funds, meaning they are managed externally, according to information on the pension plan’s website.

“While we have no control over external manager investment decisions or underlying portfolio holdings, we will certainly bring this matter to the attention of our external manager,” CalPERS spokesman John Osborn said in an email.

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