"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli wants to get out of prison so that he can work on a cure for coronavirus.
Shkreli, 37, is a disgraced pharmaceuticals CEO who was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 for running a Ponzi-like scheme at his former hedge fund which scammed his investors. He also infamously gouged patients in 2015 through his former pharmaceutical company Turing Pharmaceuticals, by dramatically hiking up the cost of an HIV drug.
Shkreli is currently serving his seven-year sentence in Allenwood, Pennsylvania but he is hoping he’ll get out on a three-month furlough, claiming he can use his pharmaceutical knowledge to assist in finding a coronavirus cure. Shkreli is scheduled to be released from prison in 2023.
“I am asking for a brief furlough (3 months) to assist in research work on COVID-19,” he wrote in a scientific paper, posted to Prospero Pharmaceuticals’ website.
The company touts itself as a biotech company that’s “developing therapies for unmet medical needs in orphan diseases.” Shkreli co-founded the company in 2015 with Kevin Mulleady, one of the paper’s co-authors. Brooklyn federal prosecutors called Mulleady an alleged co-conspirator in Shkreli’s fraud case, according to the New York Post.
The 11-page scientific paper identifies Shkreli — as well as Mulleady and two others — as "citizen scientists" in its footnotes.
The paper claims that Shkreli and his co-authors have used software to narrow down a possible COVID-19 cure down to eight drugs.
“The industry response to COVID-19 is inadequate,” Shkreli wrote. He claims that he is “one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development.”
Shkreli hasn’t been paid for his research nor does he expect to profit from creating coronavirus-related treatments in any way, he alleged.
“All biopharmaceutical companies should be responding with all resources to combat this health emergency,” Shkreli wrote.
Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the New York Post that he will be submitting a formal furlough request to both the Bureau of Prisons and Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.
“I have often said that left to his own devices, I believe Martin could cure cancer,” Brafman said.
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