The documentary’s director is David Greenwald, a seasoned editor who directed the short film My Father’s House. The acquisition deal was struck by Virgil Films president Joe Amodei, Eastgate Films’ Ronna Wallace and Jonathan Gray of Gray Schwartz.
Blech became known as the “king of biotech” after his small firm skyrocketed to the heights of Wall Street and pioneered the model of financing emerging medical solutions. “The Blech Effect” became a term for the way that investment capital, technology and medical science combined to explosive effect.
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Although he did not have any training in science, Blech worked as a stockbroker to support his ambition to become a songwriter. At 24, Blech decided to go into business with his brother, Isaac. They hustled and raised seed money to start a firm called Genetic Systems, which invested in technology being used across a range of medical disciplines. Bristol-Myers Squibb bought Genetic Systems for nearly $300 million, one of the signature deals in a frenzy of escalating biotech bets.
Against the backdrop of the 1980s boom on Wall Street, the company built a portfolio worth billions. Blech’s personal stake in a company called Alexion would be worth $1 billion today.
Instead of being captain of a yacht, however, Blech is now a convicted criminal. As he started making risky loans, he created fraudulent trades to try to satisfy lenders, but the whole enterprised collapsed. At the start of the film, he is shown to be $11 million in debt and getting ready to start serving a four-year prison term. He also has struggled with bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction.
“Virgil Films has always looked out for stories that excite and educate and director David Greenwald, who has worked with legendary filmmakers as diverse as Jonathon Demme, Ed Burns and Spike Lee fashioned a story that tears into the truth surrounding this story,” Amodei said.
Virgil, founded in 2003, has released films like the Oscar-nominated Restrepo and Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me as well as popular perennial titles like Forks Over Knives.
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