The managing partner of US$14bn biotechWall St hedge fund OrbiMed is stepping down as managing partner amid a swirl of sexual harassment claims that have emerged in recent days, the firm has announced.
Sam Isaly, pictured left, the 72-year-old co-founder of OrbiMed will be replaced by a managing committee, and the news comes 48 hurs after media reports broke of years of abusive behaviour towards employees.
STAT News wrote that “the founder of biotech’s largest and most powerful hedge fund has for years perpetuated a toxic culture of sexual harassment, former employees told STAT, routinely subjecting young female assistants to pornography in the workplace, lewd jokes, and pervasive sexist comments”.
The reportsaid that this behaviour occurred regularly in the OrbiMed workplace between 2000 and 2015.
One example was cited as happening to Isaly’s former assistant Delilah Burke, whom Isaly asked to “grab a file from his briefcase”.
When Burke opened the briefcase, a “flesh-coloured vibrator was inside. The next thing Burke heard was laughter coming from his office”, said the report.
Isaly said that he had no memory of the incident, but with multiple complaints from a number of employees, the firm has acted quickly to prevent further damage to its reputation in the fallout.
“The incidents cited are concerning and OrbiMed has retained the services of an outside independent law firm to investigate the matter,” OrbiMed said in a statement this week.
“OrbiMed takes gender equality seriously and wishes to encourage a supportive work environment and equal opportunity for all employees.”
For his part, Isaly, who co-founded OrbiMed in 1998, denied allegations of sexual harassment.
“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 a statement.