Police are investigating the suspicious deaths of Barry Sherman and his wife Honey, whose bodies were found just before noon on Friday, December 15th. Police said circumstances of the deaths “appear to be suspicious”, but no suspects are being sought at this time and there was no evidence of forced entry.
Condolences were being offered by many high profile politicians, industry leaders and philanthropists. Barry Sherman, the 75-year-old founder of the generic drug company Apotex, was one of the richest men in the country, with an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion. The couple had donated millions across North York. A charitable arm of Apotex has shipped millions of dollars worth of medicine to disaster zones.
Friends and colleagues have long said that Mr. Sherman was consumed with work and that he devoted almost all of his time and energy to Apotex, frequently sleeping for only a few hours a night. He had almost no outside interests and no taste for luxury, once driving an old car into such disrepair that Ms. Sherman went out and bought him a new Mercedes.
“Barry liked to do one thing: work. He worked seven days a week and he loved it,” says Murray Rubin, 87, a retired pharmaceutical industry colleague.
“He loved the action—the modus operandi of the pharmaceutical business,” he says.
Barry Sherman founded Toronto-based Apotex Inc. in 1974 with two employees and gradually turned it into the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company.
Sherman faced legal action from family members alleging they had been cut out of the company over the years.
As a producer of more than 300 generic pharmaceutical products, Apotex has itself seen a fair number of litigation issues, as companies have pushed back on its efforts to sell cheaper no-name options.
One of the most high-profile of those clashes occurred when pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb sued Apotex in 2006 to try and stop it from selling the first generic form of the heart-disease treatment Plavix.
Today, the company has more than 10,000 people in research, development, manufacturing and distribution facilities world-wide, with more than 6,000 employees at its Canadian operations. Those include manufacturing and research facilities concentrated in the Toronto area as well as in Winnipeg.
Filling more than 89 million prescriptions in a year and exporting to 115 countries, the privately held company says its worldwide sales exceed $2 billion a year.
Sherman’s wife, Honey, was a member of the board of the Baycrest Foundation and the York University Foundation. She also served on the boards of Mount Sinai’s Women’s Auxiliary, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the International American Joint Distribution Committee.
The Shermans were among Canada’s most generous philanthropists and also organized funding of charitable causes through the Apotex Foundation. The couple made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities and had buildings named in their honour.
A University of Toronto website lists the Apotex Foundation and the Shermans as donors in the range of $10 million to $25 million during 1995 and 2003.
The address where the bodies were found was recently listed for sale for $6.9 million, being originally purchased for just under $400,00 in 1985. Neighbours confirmed that the property was the couple’s home.
1. CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/barry-sherman-toronto-dead-apotex-1.4451452
2. The Star: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/12/15/police-investigating-deaths-at-apotex-founder-barry-shermans-mansion.html
3. The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/police-investigating-deaths-of-toronto-billionaire-barry-sherman-and-wife-as-murder-suicide/article37357096/
4. Financial Post: http://business.financialpost.com/news/apotex-founder-barry-sherman-and-wife-found-dead-ontarios-health-minister
5. Apotex: http://www1.apotex.com/global
6. Apotex Investment Overview (Bloomberg): https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapid=4211892