| David Blech|| Baruch College|
David Blech Wikipedia
David Abraham Blech (born November 25, 1955) is an American businessman, investor, and venture capitalist. He is one of the financial pioneers of the biotech industry and was once known as the "King of Biotech".
Blech graduated from Baruch College and earned a Master's in Music Education at the Teacher's College of Columbia University.
Since 1980 Mr. Blech has been a founder of companies and venture capital investor in the biotechnology sector. His initial venture investment, Genetic Systems Corporation, which he helped found with his father and his brother Isaac Blech, was built around promising scientists, including the high profile microbiologist Robert Nowinski. It developed the first inexpensive and accurate test to diagnosis sexually-transmitted diseases using monoclonal antibodies, allowing tens of thousands of babies to be born to women who otherwise would have become sterile from pelvic inflammatory disease. The company was sold to Bristol Myers in 1986 for $294 million (3%) of Bristol Myers stock.
In 1989, Blech co-founded Icos Corporation with Nowinski and George B. Rathmann, receiving the largest start up financing in biotech history at $33 million. Icos discovered the drug Cialis, which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2003 for over $2.6 billion. The Blechs also co-founded Celgene Corporation in 1986, which was a unit of the Celanese Corporation, and was spun off as an independent company following the merger of Celanese Corporation with American Hoechst Corporation. Celgene introduced two major cancer drugs, and has a current value of over $35 billion, making it the 5th largest biotech company in the world.
Other companies he helped found include DNA Plant Technology, Neurogen Corporation, Incyte Pharmaceuticals, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Neurocrine Biosciences, Cytosorbents Inc, and Intellect Neurosciences. He was also instrumental in the turnaround of Liposome Technology Inc. and Biotech General Corporation. In 1990 Mr. Blech founded D. Blech & Company, which, until it ceased doing business in September 1994, was a registered broker-dealer involved in underwriting biotechnology issues. At his peak in 1992, Blech's wealth was estimated at almost $300 million, briefly making him a member of the Forbes 400.
Falling deep into debt, D. Blech & Co was in violation of net capital rules and ceased operations on September 22, 1994, a day that came to be known as "Blech Thursday" in the biotech industry.
Blech came under investigation by the SEC for securities fraud. During the investigation Lloyd Schwed, a Florida-based attorney representing a group of former brokers, attempted to blackmail Blech by promising to withhold tapes subpoenaed during the investigation. Blech became an informant in exchange for leniency. He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal fraud and was sentenced to a five-year term of probation.
Blech says he is bipolar, has a gambling addiction and is a member of Gamblers Anonymous.