He’s young, he’s rich and he’s despised inside and outside the business community
Martin Shkreli, the 32-year old founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has been described as the “most hated man in America”.
The CEO hit the headlines this week after his company bought a drug called Daraprim, the most effective treatment for toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic infection. Daraprim is often given to people with weakened immune systems and costs $13.50 a dose, however Shkreli announced the price would rise to $750 – an increase of 5,000%. After an outcry in which he was called a “morally bankrupt sociopath” and a “scumbag”, he agreed to reduce the price to an “affordable” level.
But who is he? Here are 7 things you need to know:
1. He started his career aged 17 with an internship at hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz in 2000.
2. His first foray into having his own business was Elea Capital Management, which closed after a year thanks to a $2.3m lawsuit from Lehman Brothers.
3. He paid off investors after his hedge fund MSMB went under. In a $65m ongoing lawsuit, it’s claimed he created a new company and went public with the specific aim of paying off his MSMB investors.
4. He did a bizarre reverse-merger with this, in order to go public with his first pharma company called Retrophin. It’s very unusual and not normally a good sign for investors, but buying pharmaceutical company Desert Gateway allowed him to go public without an IPO.
5. He also became well-known for attempting a hostile takeover of Amag Pharmaceuticals, with the aim of ousting management and stopping a merger with Allos Therapeutics.
6. He made a considerable sum of money writing a blog post in which he said a competitor’s drug would not win approval with the FDA – the drug licensing agency in the US. The competitor’s shares fell significantly and he was accused of “manipulating agencies for private financial gain”.
7. Last year, he was forced out of Retrophin after claims he improperly handled legal settlements and launched Turing Pharmaceuticals at the start of 2015.