Chief Executive of US-based KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Martin Shkreli has been fired a mere matter of days after his arrest at the hands of FBI for securities fraud.
The executive was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when he bought up Turing Pharmaceuticals and overnight hiked the price more than 50-fold on a 62-year old anti-infective HIV drug known as Darapim. Shkreli later stepped down amid the furore.
The new scandal, according to US prosecutors, concerns a Ponzi-like scheme at MSMB Capital Management
The executive later defended his decision to raise the price of the drug, which costs about $1 to produce, from $13.50 to $750. Speaking to the BBC, he said that the company would use the money to research new treatments and added that the $1 price did not take into account marketing and distribution costs, both of which have increased dramatically in recent times.
A short statement released by KaloBios read simply: “On December 17, 2015, Martin Shkreli was terminated as Chief Executive Officer of the Company and resigned from his position as a member of the board of directors.” The scandal, according to US prosecutors, concerns a Ponzi-like scheme at MSMB Capital Management, a fund he helped found, and at Retrophin, where he was CEO.
Shkreli stands accused of using assets from Retrophin to pay off outstanding debts at MSMB, though he has since been released on a $5m bail.
The now-former executive told The Wall Street Journal on December 21 he felt he was being targeted for having raised drugs prices in the past. “‘Trying to find anything we could to stop him’ was the attitude of the government,” he said. “Beating the person up and then trying to find the merits to make up for it – I would have hoped the government wouldn’t take that kind of approach.”