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The manager of the UK’s largest healthcare investment trust and founder of the Orbimed hedge fund has resigned days after publication of a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him in the US.
Orbimed announced on Thursday night that Sam Isaly, 72, who set up the $14bn biotech fund in 1998, was stepping down “pursuant to years-long succession planning discussions”.
Allegations published on the Stat News site include claims that Mr Isaly, who ran the FTSE 250 Worldwide Healthcare Trust, subjected female colleagues to lewd comments and sexist jokes and played pornography on large screens on the trading room floor.
Mr Isaly is also alleged to have kept breast implants on his desk for use as a stress balls during meetings and conversations with colleagues. The report is based on a series of interviews by Stat News with former Orbimed colleagues, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr Isaly denied the allegations of sexual harassment and pornography when he was interviewed about the claims by Stat News.
Orbimed has also denied the allegations. In a statement published on December 5, the company said it had hired a law firm to investigate and that: “Orbimed takes gender equality seriously and wishes to encourage a supportive work environment and equal opportunity for all employees.”
In a statement announcing his resignation on December 7, Mr Isaly said: “Orbimed is a strong and vibrant company positioned for continued growth and this is a good time for me to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders.”
Mr Isaly has managed Worldwide Healthcare since 1995, in which time the fund has delivered a share price total return of 2,770.2 per cent, compared with 750 per cent for the S&P 500. It invests in biotech and healthcare companies and between launch and today, an initial investment of £1,000 would have grown to £28,701.
Management of the trust will be handed over to Sven Borho, a co-manager and fellow Orbimed founding partner.
Management of Orbimed will be taken over by Mr Borho, Carl Gordon and Jonathan Silverstein.
In a statement, Mr Borho said: “The firm’s other partners and I look forward to leading Orbimed into the next chapter of its storied history, as we continue to build on Sam’s founding vision in worldwide healthcare investing across the industry life cycle.”