Entrepreneur Bernard Salick, M.D., is back in business nearly a year after his outpatient cancer-care business was bought out by Zeneca Group and he was shown the door.
Last week Salick's new company, Bentley Health Care, signed a joint venture agreement with New York's 1,141-bed Montefiore Medical Center for a chain of cancer and AIDS outpatient clinics.
Initially, the joint venture plans to open four clinics, three of which will be devoted to cancer and the fourth to HIV/AIDS treatment.
Expansion throughout the New York area is likely, and it's possible the joint venture would attempt at some point to take its activities national, officials said.
Salick's previous company, Salick Health Care, has opened one clinic in New York, a joint venture with 978-bed Saint Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center. The Los Angeles-based company operates 11 outpatient cancer centers in conjunction with academic medical centers and 10 dialysis centers.
Presumably, Salick's new venture will compete with his old business. Salick, however, was unavailable for comment last week.
In a statement he said, "The collaboration will support Montefiore's clinical, research and teaching programs in exciting new ways."
Under terms of the agreement, Bentley would provide $100 million in financing for the New York centers. Montefiore, in turn, would manage the sites and pay Bentley an undisclosed fee for consulting services, largely on marketing issues.
Salick intends to sink $20 million of his own money into the venture, said Bill Haworth, a spokesman for Salick. Haworth said Bentley eventually could invest as much as $300 million in clinics throughout the New York area.
The deal must be approved by the boards of Bentley and Montefiore, state regulators and the Federal Housing Administration, which has loaned more than $350 million to Montefiore for expansion projects.
Completion of the venture is expected to take at least 90 days.
Haworth said the clinics will feature three Salick trademarks: prominent physicians, buildings designed by renowned architects, and valet parking and other amenities.
Brian Saltzman, M.D., co-director of the AIDS inpatient unit at New York's Beth Israel Medical Center, and Gabriel Torres, M.D., director of the AIDS center at Saint Vincent's, have been recruited by Bentley to head its programs in New York.
Salick, 59, is a native of Manhattan and a nephrologist. He founded Salick Health Care in 1983 after his daughter was diagnosed with bone cancer. He formed Bentley after departing Salick following its $480 million buyout by Zeneca (April 21, 1997, p. 20). At the time, company officials praised Salick's vision but said the firm needed more disciplined planning (April 28, 1997, p. 22).
A Montefiore official said the deal with Bentley makes up for Montefiore's lack of access to equity markets. "This deal brings capital to our facilities, gives us the ability to expand our services and allows us to retain medical control," said Stanley Jacobson, senior vice president and special counsel for business affairs.
The initial clinics are planned for Montefiore's main campus in the southeast Bronx, its Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the east Bronx, and a site in Westchester County, just north of New York.
In one of the first ventures between a provider and a drug manufacturer, Salick sold his company to London-based Zeneca in 1995, with Zeneca initially buying 50% of the company's outstanding stock, following up with a full buyout later.
Salick was the company's largest stockholder with 25% of outstanding stock and 40% of votes.