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

  • China's Xi takes spotlight at Davos as U.S. makes transition

    Economic CTV News
    DAVOS, Switzerland -- Communist China is taking the world's most elite annual gathering by storm. President Xi Jinping leads a Chinese delegation of over 100 officials and scores of business executives attending the World Economic Forum, embodying a tectonic shift at an event that started nearly a half-century ago among Europeans and Americans. Source
  • Full interview: Tech expert Don Tapscott on global co-operation in the Trump age

    Economic CTV News
    Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on technology, innovation and business. He is a long-time participant in the World Economic Forum who has authored or co-authored 15 popular books, including The Blockchain Revolution, which looks at how blockchain technology will fundamentally change the Internet and civilization. Source
  • First-time home buyer program attracting applicants, B.C. housing minister says

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER - British Columbia's housing minister says a program to help first-time homebuyers received applications within hours of launching. Rich Coleman said that within six hours of the provincial loan program's launch on Monday, 29 applications had been submitted. Source
  • Venezuela debuts new banknotes amid soaring inflation

    Economic CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelans stood in long ATM lines Monday to take out new, larger-denominated bills that President Nicolas Maduro hopes will help stabilize the crisis-wracked economy. Maduro last month said he was scrapping circulation of the most used bill, the 100-bolivar note, and replacing it with new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars. Source
  • Layoffs begin as Gildan backs away from American Apparel factories

    Economic CBC News
    American Apparel LLC said it had started to lay off staff on Monday, after Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc. withdrew its initial plan to acquire some of the bankrupt U.S. fashion retailer's manufacturing operations. Gildan won the rights to American Apparel's brand with an $88 million US bid in a bankruptcy auction last week. Source
  • Trump threatens 35% border tax on German autos

    Economic CBC News
    U.S president-elect Donald Trump warned German car companies he would impose a border tax of 35 per cent on vehicles imported to the U.S. market, a plan that drew sharp rebukes from Berlin and hit the automakers' shares. Source
  • Rich man, poor man: A closer look at Oxfam's inequality figures

    Economic CBC News
    A combination of static disposable incomes and rising costs has created a feeling among many middle-class Canadians that they are falling behind. Reports point out the declining quality of our jobs and that the top CEOs earn 193 times what the average worker earns. Source
  • Luxottica to join with Essilor in $70B merger of two eyewear giants

    Economic CBC News
    A global eyewear colossus worth almost $70 billion Canadian is set to be created as Italy's Luxottica — owner of Ray-Ban and Oakley glasses — merges with France's Essilor, owner of Crizal, Transitions, Clearly Contacts and other brands. Source
  • Loonie, TSX lower; U.S. stock markets closed

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar and Toronto Stock Exchange were lower in late-morning trading, with key U.S. markets closed for a holiday. The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 50.54 points at 15,446.74 after nearly two hours of trading. Source
  • Hard Brexit details send British pound to hard landing under $1.20 US

    Economic CBC News
    The British pound fell to its lowest since 1985 on Monday after speculation ramped up that British Prime Minister Theresa May will lay out her plans for a so-called "hard Brexit" from the EU to European lawmakers tomorrow. Source