KaloBios fires Shkreli, embattled pharmaceutical executive reviled for price hikes

TRENTON, N.J. -- In barely 24 hours, Martin Shkreli went from an egotistical pharmaceutical boy wonder running two small drug developers and live-streaming his daily activities to unemployed and facing securities fraud charges that could land him in prison for years.

See Full Article

Shkreli, already reviled by the public for astronomical price gouging on a life-saving drug, was terminated by KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, the company disclosed Monday.

The South San Francisco, California, company said in a statement that it terminated Shkreli as its CEO last Thursday and that he resigned from its board of directors then. That was the same day that Shkreli, a 32-year-old former hedge fund manager, was arrested in New York and charged with securities fraud and conspiracy related to a company he previously ran.

Shkreli was led from his apartment in handcuffs by authorities Thursday morning and later pleaded not guilty and was released on $5 million bail. The charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. By the time Shkreli made bail, Turing Pharmaceuticals Inc., which he had founded and ran, announced he had resigned as the CEO.

It was a surprising reversal, even for an executive dubbed the "most hated man in America" this fall after he jacked up the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Daraprim is the only approved drug for a life-threatening parasitic infection that mainly strikes pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients.

Amid mounting criticism from patients, doctors and politicians, Shkreli pledged to lower Daraprim's price, but later reneged and instead offered hospitals a 50 per cent discount -- still amounting to a 2,500 per cent increase. Patients normally take most of the weeklong treatment at home, so they still face the 5,000 per cent price increase, though Turing is offering financial aid to those who can't afford the drug.

Shkreli has since said that law enforcement targeted him because of the price hike.

Meanwhile, Shkreli's Twitter account was hacked Sunday. Posts including "I am now a god," "Anyone want free money? Willing to donate hundreds of thousands to charities before I go to prison ..." and numerous unprintable ones accumulated on the page before he regained control and deleted them. Many are still viewable on Twitter under "martin shkreli hacked."

His You Tube account, where he's frequently live-streamed himself working on his home computer, talking to himself and eating, also was hit with posts belittling him and hasn't been active since Sunday.

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a faltering drug company whose shares skyrocketed after Nov. 19, when Martin Shkreli disclosed a huge stake and became its CEO and board chairman. At the same time, a few people resigned from the company's board of directors and were replaced by three new people. One of them, Tony Chase, resigned from that position last Thursday when Shkreli was ousted.

Trading in KaloBios shares has been halted since Thursday. The company wouldn't answer questions Monday about who will take control and when its shares will resume trading.

It has been attempting to develop drugs to treat cancer and leukemia. Its shares tumbled 70 per cent in January after its drug for lung infections failed in testing. The company announced it would shut down right before Shkreli and a group of investors swooped in with cash and pledges of financing to keep it going.

Federal prosecutors allege that from 2009 to 2014, Shkreli made bad trades that lost money of some investors in his hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, then looted a pharmaceutical company called Retrophin, where he was then CEO, for $11 million to pay back his disgruntled clients.

On Saturday, Shkreli tweeted: "I am confident I will prevail."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Federal government blocks sale of construction giant Aecon to Chinese interests

    Economic CBC News
    The federal government has blocked the sale of Canadian construction company Aecon Group Inc. to Chinese interests, the office of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has confirmed. The controversial deal between Aecon and China's CCCC International Holding Ltd., also known as CCCI, would have been worth $1.5 billion. Source
  • Feds block Aecon proposed takeover by Chinese group for national security reasons

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The federal government has blocked Chinese state-owned CCCC International Holding Ltd.'s proposed $1.5 billion takeover of construction firm Aecon Group Inc. for reasons of national security. More coming. Source
  • Feds block $1.5B takeover of Aecon by China-owned company over national security

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The federal government has blocked the proposed $1.5-billion takeover of Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned company for reasons of national security. After markets closed Wednesday, a spokesman for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains confirmed the government's decision to prevent CCCC International Holding Ltd. Source
  • Northern B.C. gas pipeline designed to supply LNG industry wins NEB approval

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- The National Energy Board has approved construction of a natural gas pipeline originally intended to supply the Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal near Port Edward, B.C., even though that $36-billion project was cancelled last July. Source
  • Strike at Caesars Windsor postpones Blink-182, Russell Peters shows

    Economic CTV News
    WINDSOR, Ont. - An ongoing strike at Caesars Windsor has postponed more concerts, this time appearances by artists including Blink-182 and Russell Peters. The southern Ontario tourist draw says it is postponing concerts and cancelling hotel reservations through June 16. Source
  • Ecuadorian Villagers lose fight to have Chevron Canada pay US$9.5 billion

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based oil giant Chevron Corp. cannot be held liable for a US$9.5-billion award a court in Ecuador ordered against the parent company in favour of Ecuadorian villagers, Ontario's top court ruled on Wednesday. Source
  • Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA -- A new scientific study says more needs to be known about the impact on oyster farms of microplastic pollution that has been found in waters off Vancouver Island. The report's authors say it would be prudent to assess the extent to which shellfish ingest microbeads, microfibres and microfragments after the pollution was found in the Baynes Sound, Lambert Channel and in areas off Denman and Hornby islands. Source
  • CN to purchase hundreds of grain cars as transportation bill becomes law

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canadian National Railway is preparing to purchase hundreds of new grain hopper cars to get shipments moving after a bill that encourages railways to make investments to avert service disruptions became law Wednesday. Source
  • CN Rail locomotive engineers ratify five-year collective agreement

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- CN Rail says its 1,800 locomotive engineers in Canada have ratified a new five-year collective agreement. The Montreal-based railway says the contract with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) includes annual wage and benefit improvements in line with the industry. Source
  • Uber puts brakes on self-driving car operation in Arizona

    Economic CBC News
    Uber is ending its operation of self-driving cars in Arizona more than two months after a woman was struck and killed by one of its vehicles. The company notified about 300 workers Wednesday that their positions would be terminated. Source