Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli vows to get revenge on pharmaceutical industry

Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli vows to get revenge on pharmaceutical industry 2
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Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli is vowing to get ‘revenge’ on Big Pharma with a new Robin Hood-style venture that will see him ‘democratizing’ the same industry that cast him out for hiking up the prices of life-saving drugs. 

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In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, the 39-year-old, who became known as the ‘most hated man in America’ thanks to his AIDS drug price-gouging plot, laid bare his plans to get back at the pharmaceutical industry, while also lifting the lid on his plot to take a furious fight to the FTC. 

Speaking out for the first time since his release from jail, where he spent five years for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, Shkreli admitted that his top priority now that he is out from behind bars is clawing his way back into the pharma industry – despite him being slapped with a lifetime ban – by any means possible.  

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At the top of his post-prison to-do list is getting back into his former industry and taking aim at the FTC, with Shkreli stating: ‘My main focus is just fighting the government and getting back the right to be in pharma.’ 

To that end, he is appealing an FTC ruling that banned him from the industry, while also landing him with a $65 million fine. And while he is confident that he will come out on top, Shkreli is already working on a new venture that he says will provide him with the opportunity to get his ‘revenge’ on Big Pharma once and for all: a new drug-discovery software company, druglike.

Through the start-up, Shkreli wants to make early drug discovery more accessible by putting the same software used by multi-billion-dollar pharma companies on the cloud and crowdsourcing it so that it can be used by the masses. 

A seemingly-noble, yet somewhat ironic scheme from the former hedge funder who became the ‘most hated man in America’ for pricing drugs out of the hands of the average person. But while the venture, if successful, would undoubtedly shake up the industry – it would also give Shkreli the chance to get his own back. 

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‘It’s kind of like, my revenge on the pharma industry to some extent,’ says the former pharma industry exec. ‘It’d be fascinating if like, the next big medicine came out because like 20,000 computers of volunteers made it instead of like, Merck.’

Shkreli was barred from the pharma industry earlier this year after the FTC and seven states sued him for 'initiating a scheme to block the entry of generic drug competition so that he could reap the profits from Daraprim sales'. In 2015, Shkreli's company Turing Pharmaceuticals (now called Vyera), infamously hiked the price Daraprim, a life-saving drug for people with immune system disorders, by about 5,000% in one da

Shkreli was barred from the pharma industry earlier this year after the FTC and seven states sued him for ‘initiating a scheme to block the entry of generic drug competition so that he could reap the profits from Daraprim sales’. In 2015, Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals (now called Vyera), infamously hiked the price Daraprim, a life-saving drug for people with immune system disorders, by about 5,000% in one day

Shkreli takes s selfie at the corner of Chrystie St. and Delancey St. in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Shkreli, a New York City local, returned home in May after five years in prison

Shkreli takes selfie on subway days after his release from prison. The native New Yorker says he rides the subway on a daily basis, but it's been 'a little awkward' because he's so recognizable... and disliked

Shkreli, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors, is now back in his hometown, New York City. He is seen left in a selfie taken at the corner of Chrystie St. and Delancey St. in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and right on the subway days after his release from prison. The native New Yorker says he rides the subway on a daily basis, but it’s been ‘a little awkward’ because he’s so recognizable… and disliked

Shkreli, 39, celebrates his release from prison at a Cracker Barrel restaurant on the day of his release

Shkreli gets picked up by friend on last day in prison. The recently incarcerated Pharma Bro was released two years early for good behavior

Shkreli and friend celebrate the former inmate’s release from prison in May. Following a trip to Cracker Barrel restaurant, Shkreli checked into a halfway house in Brooklyn where he stayed for about two months. The former pharma industry exec is currently on house arrest.

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Shkreli, pictured at age 33, livestreams with his cat 'Trashy' in their Murray Hill apartment in 2016, a year after he earned the title 'Pharma Bro'

Shkreli smirks at members of House Committee on Oversight and Reform during 2016 hearing about prescription drug prices

Shkreli earned the dubious distinction of ‘Pharma Bro’ in 2015 after his company increased the price of Daraprim by over 50-fold, overnight. In 2016, the pharma villain testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a hearing about prescription drug prices (right). When he wasn’t pleading the fifth on Capitol Hill, Shkreli livestreamed with his cat ‘Trashy’ in their Murray Hill apartment (left)

Notes on a scandal: A timeline of Shkreli’s controversies and convictions

Martin Shrekli was released from Allenwood prison in May 2022 after serving five years of his seven-year sentence

Shkreli became the ‘most hated man in America’ after he upped the price of Daraprim by about 5,500%, overnight

August 2015 

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Shkreli’s Vyera Pharmaceuticals acquires the drug Daraprim 

September 2015

Shrekli hikes up the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent. 

He defended the outrageous price hike by saying the company needed to make a profit to continue researching and for operational costs. 

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December 2015

He is arrested on securities and wire fraud charges for his other pharmaceutical company Retrophin between 2009 and 2014. 

Prosecutors alleged he used the company’s cash and stock to pay back hedge fund investors for the money he lost. 

He was released on a $5million bail at the time and he was terminated as CEO. 

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February 2016

He refuses to testify in front of Congress, invoking his Fifth Amendment. 

He smirked at lawmakers as they asked him about Daraprim’s price hike – a move he’d become known for. 

January 2017: 

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He harassed a female journalist Laura Duca on Twitter, photoshopping himself over her husband and sent her various messages. 

He was banned from Twitter but continued to make multiple accounts. 

June 2017

His trial began and he faced up to 20 years in prison. 

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August 2017

He is convicted of three of eight federal counts by a Brooklyn jury. 

September 2017

His bail was revoked and he was sent to prison on September 13 after reportedly threatening a former presidential nominee on social media. 

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He offered $5,000 on Facebook for someone to grab Hillary Clinton’s hair while she was on her book tour. 

‘The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on HRC’s book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton,’ he wrote at the time. 

March 2018

He was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors. 

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Shkreli cried in court, saying: ‘I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me. I took down Martin Shkreli.’

April 2019

He is removed from Fort Dix prison following allegations that he used a contraband cell phone to run his company while he was behind bars

May 2019 

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He is transferred to Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex in Pennsylvania

He sues Retrophin directors and ex-general counsel for over $30 million

May 2020 

Judge Kiyo Matsumoto denies Shkreli’s request for release to work on COVID-19 vaccine 

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May 2022

He is released early from Allenwood prison after serving five years of his seven-year sentence. 

He is transferred from prison to a halfway house in Brooklyn

June 2022

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He debuts his Substack newsletter with a post criticizing billionaire Mark Cuban’s online pharmacy for not being transparent in its pricing

July 2022 

He is on house arrest at his sister’s home in Brooklyn and wears an ankle bracelet 

Shkreli became ‘America’s most hated man’ in 2015 after his company Turing Pharmaceuticals (now known as Vyera), acquired the rights to Daraprim — a life-saving drug used by AIDS and cancer patients — then marked up the price by over 5,000 per cent, overnight. 

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He also bought a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million; put a bounty on a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair; got suspended from Twitter for harassing a journalist; allegedly purchased Jay-Z tickets for $10,000 using company funds; and relentlessly trolled the internet — none of which helped his reputation.

The 39-year-old New Yorker is now on house arrest in his hometown after spending two months in a Brooklyn halfway house and five years in prison.

Now, in an exclusive sit-down with DailyMail.com, Shkreli opens up about his status as ‘America’s most hated man’, his time behind bars, the ‘fun’ he had with his fellow inmates, and his big plans for the future.  

FROM PHARMA BRO TO ‘FUN’ PRISON LIFE: DUBBED ‘MARTY MAR’, SHKRELI BECAME A BUSINESS MENTOR FOR HIS NEW INMATE FRIENDS ‘TRAUMA’ AND ‘POOPZ’  AND TAUGHT THEM ABOUT INVESTING

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In the same year as his infamous drug-price debacle, Shkreli was arrested on securities fraud charges linked to one of his drug companies, Retrophin, and two of his hedge funds, MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare.  

He was eventually sentenced to seven years in prison for lying to investors, less than half the sentence sought by prosecutors. This year, he got out on good behavior.

According to Shkreli, ‘the average person would get crushed by a couple years in prison’, but he says that wasn’t the case for him. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

Not only did he survive, he says he actually thrived behind bars.

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Remembering his time spent serving at both Allenwood and Fort Dix, federal prisons in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Shkreli jokes: ‘We had fun. In fact, we had too much fun’.

If anything, prison provided something of a safe haven for the former hedge fund executive; behind bars, Shkreli wasn’t public enemy number one, he was just another guy doing time. And the other prisoners didn’t call him ‘Pharma Bro’. They referred to him as just ‘Shkreli’ or ‘Marty Mar’ – nicknames he owned with pride.

‘It’s a sacred thing, the nickname thing. You’re not just like, “Call me this!” Like, some people do. But it’s supposed to be like, people know you from that name, from your neighborhood. You know? Like, “Trauma” was one of my friends. Sweetest guy in the world’.

Besides ‘Trauma’, Shkreli became friends with Jeremy ‘Poopz’ Lorenzo; Charles ‘Duke’ Tanner; and Daniel ‘D-Block’ Egipciaco, all of whom have now also been released from prison. 

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Shkreli also found a new purpose in prison, where he says he served as a business mentor of sorts for his fellow inmates. He taught them about investing; economics; stocks; and cryptocurrency.

He also assisted them with their legal problems and enlisted his then-girlfriend, author and former Bloomberg journalist Christie Smythe, in his efforts. Together, Shkreli says that he and Smythe helped both D-Block and Duke get their sentences commuted.

D-Block, cellmates with Shkreli at Fort Dix, was arrested in New York City at age 25 in a drug sting operation. He fought unsuccessfully in court for 15 years before his release in September 2019. The judge presiding over D-Block’s case referenced an op-ed by Smythe in his official decision regarding the then 39-year-old’s reduced sentence.

Duke was a champion boxer from Gary, Indiana who also got arrested on a drug charge and spent over a decade lobbying to get out of prison. In 2020, President Trump granted Duke clemency, ten years before his scheduled release date.  

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Shkreli clarifies that he nor Smythe take full credit for D-Block and Duke’s releases, but he’s quick to point out that both his friends ‘just so happened’ to get out of prison within a year or so of meeting him.

As far as his day-to-day life behind bars, Shkreli just remembers a whole lot of ‘bidding’, or ‘wasting time in prison’, as he defines it.

It’s basically bullsh****ng. You’ll just like, walk down the hall and be like, “Oh what’s Shkreli doing? I wonder…” And then you go in there and like, just waste time’.

The recently-released inmate recalls making food as one of the biggest ways to pass time. 

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‘You’d steal food and like, remake it… I would always joke with Poopz and others, like, “You guys think you’re Iron Chef or something? Like, this is ridiculous!” And they’d be like, “No, watch!”‘ 

Aside from learning endless ways to waste time, Shkreli says he learned a lot about ‘humanity’ in in prison, explaining: ‘If you can’t see the humanity in people then you won’t adjust. 

‘Like, if you think you’re better than everybody, then you’re never going to adjust. 

The second you get there, you’re going to be like, “I can’t believe I’m here with these people”. And it’s like, well, you’re one of these people.’

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Shkreli and Charles ¿Duke¿ Tanner, friends and former inmates at Allenwood Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, do an Instagram Live interview with ¿The Champ & The Chump¿ podcast on July 6, 2022. Duke, a champion boxer from Indiana, was granted clemency by President Trump in 2020. Shkreli says he and his ex-girlfriend, Christie Smythe, helped Duke get his sentence commuted.

Shkreli and Charles ‘Duke’ Tanner, friends and former inmates at Allenwood Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, do an Instagram Live interview with ‘The Champ & The Chump’ podcast on July 6, 2022. Duke, a champion boxer from Indiana, was granted clemency by President Trump in 2020. Shkreli says he and his ex-girlfriend, Christie Smythe, helped Duke get his sentence commuted. 

Infamous hedge fund founder, Shkreli, makes a FaceTime call at Fort Dix prison in New Jersey. He was moved out of Fort Dix in 2019 following allegations that he used a cell phone to run his company while behind bars.

Shkreli seen eating in prison. He remembers making food as one of the biggest ways to 'bid', or waste time, while incarcerated

Shkreli seen taking FaceTime calls (left) and eating in prison (right). The ex-inmate of Allenwood and Fort Dix says making food was one of the biggest ways to ‘bid’, or waste time, while in prison. Shkreli was moved out of Fort Dix in 2019 following allegations that he used a cell phone to run his company while behind bars. 

Former pharma executive, Shkreli, livestreams himself playing League of Legends and invites followers to join him

Shkreli posts on his Instagram story about an upcoming YouTube livestream where he talks jail tattoos and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets

Post-prison, Shkreli’s been keeping himself busy doing daily livestreams on social media. His content ranges from League of Legends (left) to prison tattoos and spreadsheets (right)

Yet in the same breath, Shkreli back-tracks that same statement, adding, ‘I’m not sure I was like, 100% guilty. I’m not sure I got the right sentence.’ 

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He then proceeds to call out his investors for the role that they played in his downfall, saying: ‘My investors made a lot of money in my hedge fund. There’s no doubt about that. The facts speak for themselves. 

‘None of them went up there and said, “I’m missing $5 million. Where is it?” They all said, “Martin tripled my money.” But, you know, a lie’s a lie, and a lie is wrong.’

However, he goes on to admit: ‘I look at my crime, and I’m still in a little bit of denial, but I’m also disgusted by it as well. Like, I really never want to mislead anybody ever, ever. 

‘I’m a short-seller of stocks. I bet on companies falling down because of fraud and misleading statements, so it was very weird for me to be a misleader because I was also like, an exposer of bad deeds.’

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THE MAKING OF AN INDUSTRY VILLAIN: HOW SHKRELI WENT FROM BROOKLYN ‘NERD’ TO ‘PHARMA BRO’ 

Before he was Pharma Bro, Shkreli was a self-described nerd raised in a middle-class family in Brooklyn by immigrant parents. He attended Hunter College High School, where he says he graduated early but also jokes, ‘I had skipped grades and got held back grades, so net-net, I graduated a little early. And that’s kind of the Martin Shkreli story for better or worse. Like, I do great things, and then f**k up’. 

The future pharma executive thought he’d end up in the software industry or academia but found his way to Wall Street after landing a job at Cramer Berkowitz & Co., a hedge fund founded by CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

While there, 19-year-old Shkreli experienced his first run-in with the SEC. The agency looked into Cramer’s fund after it profited from short-selling a biotech stock recommended by Shkreli. Ultimately, they determined no foul play, but Shkreli was on their radar from that point forward.

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Shkreli, pictured at age 17, kicks back in front of a Bloomberg Terminal while working as an intern at Wall Street hedge fund, 'Cramer, Berkowitz & Co', founded by Jim Cramer, host of CNBC¿s 'Mad Money'

Shkreli, pictured at age 17, kicks back in front of a Bloomberg Terminal while working as an intern at Wall Street hedge fund, ‘Cramer, Berkowitz & Co’, founded by Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s ‘Mad Money’

Shkreli seen working at hedge fund, 'Cramer, Berkowitz & Co', in early 2000's. Shkreli had his first run-in with the SEC at 19 years old after Cramer's hedge fund profited from short-selling a stock that Shkreli recommended. Ultimately the organization found no foul play relating to the trade.

Shkreli seen working at hedge fund, ‘Cramer, Berkowitz & Co’, in early 2000’s. Shkreli had his first run-in with the SEC at 19 years old after Cramer’s hedge fund profited from short-selling a stock that Shkreli recommended. Ultimately the organization found no foul play relating to the trade.

Shkreli school picture, age seven. The Pharma Bro is a self-described nerd. He thought he'd wind up in the software industry or academia but ended up landing a job on Wall Street working at a hedge fund at 16 years old

Shkreli's friends' favorite picture of him, pre-prison. The Pharma Bro is a well-known fan of rap, having purchased Wu-Tang Clan's exclusive album, 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' for $2 million dollars. Shkreli's currently 'on the hunt' for a new rare album to buy and says he's eyeing Frank Ocean's rumored exclusive.

Shkreli, now 39, describes his younger and current self as a ‘nerd’ (left) with a love for science and rap music (right)

The short-seller went on to start his own hedge funds and drug companies, but in Shkreli’s true self-destructive style, those successes were short-lived.

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In 2015, Shkreli was arrested in Manhattan on securities fraud charges. He stood accused lying to investors and using money from one of his companies, Retrophin, to pay back investors in his hedge funds, MSMB Capital Management and MSMB Healthcare.

The SEC issued a press release in December of that year stating, ‘Martin Shkreli misappropriated money from two hedge funds he founded and made material misrepresentations to investors among other widespread misconduct’. 

It wasn’t just the SEC going after Pharma Bro. ‘Virtually every three-letter agency of the government got a good bite of Martin Shkreli,’ he remembers.

Separate from Shkreli’s securities-fraud charges is his most notorious misdeed: Hiking the price of Daraprim to $750-per-pill from $13-per-pill, a more than 5,000% increase.

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Today, Shkreli says he regrets ‘some’ of what happened because ‘financially, it was a modest deal anyway, and the reaction I got was so crazy. It spun out of control’. 

But he’s not trying to be the fall-guy for all this. In defending himself, Shkreli argues, ’50 people contributed to that decision. It wasn’t just me… I never found that medicine. It was a guy that worked for the founders, and he’s doing fine. He started a new company, and he’s a very happy-go-lucky CEO’. 

It’s worth noting that Shkreli did not go to prison for hiking prescription drug prices. 

In fact, the judge presiding over Shkreli’s case, explicitly stated, ‘This case is not about Mr. Shkreli’s self-cultivated public persona nor his controversial statements about politics or culture’.

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Pharma Bro Shkreli arrested in Manhattan on securities-fraud charges in 2015. A judge later sentenced the former pharma industry executive to seven years in prison, yet he only served five years because he got out early on good behavior

Pharma Bro Shkreli arrested in Manhattan on securities-fraud charges in 2015. A judge later sentenced the former pharma industry executive to seven years in prison, yet he only served five years because he got out early on good behavior

Shkreli, former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, walks past press outside New York City courthouse in 2017

Shkreli, former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, walks past press outside New York City courthouse in 2017

Courtroom sketch of Shkreli pleading for leniency from US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who ultimately sentenced him to seven years in prison and ordered him to forfeit the nearly $7.5 million he reportedly made from the fraud in addition to paying a $75,000 fine.

Courtroom sketch of Shkreli pleading for leniency from US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who ultimately sentenced him to seven years in prison and ordered him to forfeit the nearly $7.5 million he reportedly made from the fraud in addition to paying a $75,000 fine. 

Before sentencing, Kiyo Matsumoto, the US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, also stated that the responsibility to address drug-prices hikes lies with congress.

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In 2015, Shkreli's company Turing Pharmaceuticals (now called Vyera), infamously hiked the price Daraprim, a life-saving drug for people with immune system disorders. Despite being Shkreli's most infamous misdeed, this isn't why he went to prison

In 2015, Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals (now called Vyera), infamously hiked the price Daraprim, a life-saving drug for people with immune system disorders. Despite being Shkreli’s most infamous misdeed, this isn’t why he went to prison

Yet, since Shkreli’s arrest, there hasn’t been much progress on that front. For instance, in 2020 and 2021, nearly half of new drugs were priced at more than $150,000 per year.

As the Shkreli explains, ‘[Prescription drugs] are like any other product or good, right? You can charge what you want for it. There’s very few goods and services that are regulated. There are a few utilities like water and energy that have, you know, caps. But other than that, it’s no different from a television or rutabaga or whatever.’ 

The hedge fund founder stands by the fact that he was just doing his job by trying to maximize returns for investors.

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When people criticize him for prioritizing money over peoples’ lives, Shkreli claps back with, ‘Every time you go to the doctor, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Because if your insurance is declined, that doctor and those nurses aren’t going to spend any time with you. Go ahead. Go try to go to the dentist and let me know if they’re going to work on your teeth for free. Like, nobody’s doing it’.

READY TO FIGHT: INSIDE SHKRELI’S PLANS TO BITE BACK AT THE FTC

While in prison, the FTC and seven state co-plaintiffs (New York; California; Illinois; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; and Virginia) sued Shkreli for violating federal and state laws prohibiting anticompetitive conduct. 

In a statement, the FTC blasted Shkreli for ‘masterminding an illegal scheme that fleeced patients dependent on the life-saving drug Daraprim’.

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Earlier this year, while he was still in prison, US District Judge Denise Cote sided with the FTC and issued the  Pharma Bro a nearly $65 million fine and a lifetime ban from the pharma industry, where he’d worked for more than two decades.

Shkreli has since filed an appeal and is not only confident he will win, but also that he will be able to shake up the FTC once and for all. 

Exterior of Federal Trade Commission building. While in prison, the FTC and seven state co-plaintiffs (New York; California; Illinois; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; and Virginia) sued Shkreli for violating federal and state laws prohibiting anticompetitive conduct.

Shkreli pictured on Capitol Hill in 2016 for a hearing with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform about prescription drug prices. When Shkreli received a subpoena for his testimony, the pharma boss responded by Tweeting a picture of it with the caption, 'Found this letter. Looks important'

The FTC’s been waging legal war with Shkreli for more than a half decade. Their most recent blow came in early 2022 when a judge sided with the FTC and ordered Shkreli to pay $65 million in damages and banned him from the pharma industry for life. But it’s not just the FTC going after Pharma Bro. ‘Virtually every three-letter agency of the government got a good bite of Martin Shkreli,’ he told Daily Mail in an EXCLUSIVE interview. In 2016, the former pharma exec testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a hearing about prescription drug prices (right). When Shkreli received his subpoena, he responded in true Pharma Bro fashion by Tweeting a picture of it with the caption, ‘Found this letter. Looks important’

‘The claim is that I masterminded this plot for years and years. I wasn’t even in power. Like, these other guys had power for ’16 and most of ’17…’ argues Shkreli.

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‘Ultimately, I can’t be held responsible for what grown adults with lawyers are doing. Even if I was saying, “Go, go crazy, go hog wild, stop all the competition,” they as sober adults have to be like, “Alright, thank you Martin, but no.” And half the time, they never listen to me anyways.’ 

He confidently continues, ‘We’re going to knock ’em dead. I mean, this is the craziest ruling. It’s the first time in history a person has been sued for being a monopolist in America… Not Bill Gates, not Rockefeller, not Mark Zuckerberg. Their companies always get sued. I personally got sued. I’m not a monopolist. I don’t buy and sell medicine. My company buys and sells medicine’.

The 39-year-old entrepreneur acknowledges that losing is ‘certainly a possibility’, but he says he won’t be hurting for cash if that happens. ‘I’m a very, very large shareholder of Phoenixus, and that stake is worth quite a lot. It’s, you know, many tens-of-millions of dollars, maybe even as much as $100 million’. 

At the same time, Shkreli confesses, ‘If I didn’t win the appeal, and I didn’t win indemnification, it’d be a big problem… I mean, I bet my life sort of on this company, so we’ll see what happens’.

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SHKRELI’S ‘REVENGE’: HOW PHARMA BRO PLANS TO SHAKE UP THE INDUSTRY WITH NEW ‘DEMOCRATIZED’ DRUG SOFTWARE START-UP 

Although he has been officially ousted from the pharma industry, Shkreli’s found a way to stay in the game. 

The recently released inmate says that he and his friend, Jason Sommer, are building a drug discovery software company, that uses distributed computing (think Bitcoin mining) and cloud computing (think Amazon Web Services) to ‘democratize’ the process of making medicine.

In other words, the software gives ordinary people the ability to discover new drugs using computers.

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The company’s name, druglike, comes from an industry term referring to molecules that have physical properties consistent with known drugs. 

Using computers to make medicine is nothing new. 

Big pharma companies like Phizer and Moderna, as well as universities, have been using this kind of software for years because they have the money and manpower to do it. 

Shkreli's new start-up, druglike, will use use cloud technology, akin to Amazon Web Services, and crowdsourcing technology, akin to crypto mining, in order to 'democratize early-stage drug discovery'.

Shkreli’s new start-up, druglike, will use use cloud technology, akin to Amazon Web Services, and crowdsourcing technology, akin to crypto mining, in order to ‘democratize early-stage drug discovery’.

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Preview of druglike's user interface. In upcoming weeks, Shkreli's start-up will release its White Paper and a demo version of their software. The final product is scheduled launch later this year

Preview of druglike’s user interface. In upcoming weeks, Shkreli’s start-up will release its White Paper and a demo version of their software. The final product is scheduled launch later this year

However, it’s not something that has ever been widely accessible to the average person because the technology involved is cost-prohibitive and, ‘so crazy and difficult to use that you have to be a computer scientist,’ according to Shkreli. 

He explains, ‘Pfizer designs drugs with software like this. They have thousands of people that do that. It’s probably how they came up with their COVID drugs, actually. But you can’t get it because it’s expensive and you can’t get it because it’s really hard to use. Those are two of like big barriers… The third barrier is, even if you do that well, how do you afford a million computers?’

To address that, druglike’s harnessing the powers of the cloud and crowdsourcing.

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‘What we’re doing is you can like crowdsource your computer. So if you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and 50,000 people decide to help out an African university trying to make malaria drug, or you know, a small drug company in California trying to make a new cancer drug, like everybody can like, just share their “this” and like all contribute.’

He adds: ‘Four molecules make up every drug. So every Prozac, every epilepsy drug, every cancer drug is four little patterns. And just how do you arrange these four atoms? Well, you have four colors to pain with, right? 

‘A computer can paint every possible combination. It’s a lot of combinations, like trillions of combinations that conceivably, we’re now just at the point of cloud-computing where like and AI and stuff like that, where you could actually conceivably make every possible drug in existence’. 

They’ve produced various iterations of the software over the last few years, including a version that Shkreli used when he did his COVID-19 vaccine research while incarcerated. 

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druglike is scheduled to launch this year and will be available to the public at no charge. 

THE FUTURE OF PHARMA BRO: SHKRELI ON OVERCOMING HIS ‘DEBT TO SOCIETY’ AND SEEKING ‘REDEMPTION’

Shkreli’s family wants him to take it easy post-prison, but that’s not happening any time soon, as he sees it.

‘I was relaxing for five years,’ says Shkreli. ‘Like, there’s nothing to do in jail, so I’m excited to go to work and like get stuff done.’

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When he’s not fighting the FTC or working on his new company, Shkreli’s keeping himself busy with social media (per usual); hunting and collecting rare records (e.g., He’s eyeing Frank Ocean’s reportedly unreleased album); trolling Mark Cuban, and looking for love on apps like Bumble.

Shkreli thinks Twitter hasn’t changed all that much since he was booted from the platform in 2017. Dating apps, on the other hand, ain’t what they used to be.

‘Dating apps don’t really feel authentic… Five or six years ago, there was a real spark on those things. Now they don’t feel real at all. Like, Tinder was cool and fun to be on. Now, it’s like, it doesn’t even work. There’s nobody real on there’.

One of the biggest changes Shkreli’s noticed since coming out of prison is the way people treat him.

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He rides the subway to work everyday, which he describes as an ‘awkward’ experience because he’s so recognizable… and universally disliked. 

Shkreli, 39, sits on steps outside his office in SoHo where he works everyday on his new company, druglike

Shkreli, 39, sits on steps outside his office in SoHo where he works everyday on his new company, druglike

Shkreli posts a picture on Instagram of his ankle bracelet with the caption 'I'll still steal your girl'. He was on house arrest for a few days in June but went back to the halfway house after getting into a fight with the family member whom he was staying with. He has since reconciled with said family member and is back on house arrest living with them

Shkreli's dad pictured holding 'Trashy' the cat. Shkreli says the narratives that matter to him are the ones with his family. He professes that if his father told him that he was disappointed, Shkreli would be 'devastated'

Shkreli’s on house arrest with an ankle bracelet until at least September (left). In the meantime, the Pharma Bro’s dad is looking after his cat, Trashy (right)

Pharma industry bad boy, Shkreli, looks for love on dating apps like Bumble while he's on house arrest

Billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, attends game during 2022 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nevada. In June, mere months out of prison, Shkreli slammed Cuban's online pharmacy for making 'largely false' claims about its cost savings

Fresh out of prison, Shkreli’s back on Bumble (left) and has started a Substack newsletter, in which claimed that Cuban’s new pharmacy, Cost Plus Drugs, offered no real savings for patients

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Shkreli reflects, ‘When I was on trial, and like, everyone was like, Oh, can I get a selfie? Like, Oh, I really wish you luck, man. I don’t get that right now, which is weird because you would think if anything, time would heal wounds.’  

Likening himself to another polarizing figure, Shkreli states: ‘Almost like “Never Trump”, there’s like this “Never Shkreli” thing… It’s the only thing. It overshadows everything. I think there are people in pharma and biotech and investing that they know I’m good at that stuff. But there’s this like radioactive, you know, we can’t talk to that guy… I paid my debt to society. It’s been seven years or roughly since I was indicted. Like, is there never any redemption for anybody?’ 

Shkreli is out of prison and back in New York City where he's working Monday-Friday at an office in SoHo while on house arrest. The Brooklyn-bred entrepreneur and his business partner are building a software company called 'druglike' that seeks to 'democratize early drug discovery' via cloud computing and crowdsourcing technology

Shkreli is out of prison and back in New York City where he’s working Monday-Friday at an office in SoHo while on house arrest. The Brooklyn-bred entrepreneur and his business partner are building a software company called ‘druglike’ that seeks to ‘democratize early drug discovery’ via cloud computing and crowdsourcing technology

The convicted fraudster swears up and down that he’s not looking for redemption – He just wants to prove that he’s more than Pharma Bro.

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‘People want these redemption arcs, and they’re just so bad… To the extent that I want to prove something, it’s at least like, yeah, I have a lot of talents. I’m not some one trick pony. I really do know medicine’.

He also insists that the only narrative that matters is the one with his family. 

‘Prison reminds you how important family is… I’d be devastated if my brother told me I wasn’t being a good brother, or if my dad told me that he was disappointed in me. Like, I’m not devastated if some person who’s like, already got a sick up their a** about every possible social issue, doesn’t like me.’

He continues, ‘As my parents approach 70, I know that I f***ed up by spending five years in prison. That was worse for them than me…. it’s kind of a selfish thing to do.’ 

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Even though Shkreli’s out of prison, he’s far from free.

Pharma’s so-called ‘Bad Boy’ is on house arrest with an ankle bracelet and has to report to his probation officer multiple times a day for at least the rest of the summer.

‘September is basically when I don’t have to tell anybody where I am or where I’m going to be. So I’m looking forward to that’.

Shkreli believes his legal problems pertaining to the fraud charges are, ‘largely in the rearview mirror’, but adds that the FTC is, ‘still a thorn in my side’.

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Still, he remains hopeful: ‘I’m a resolute optimist. Like, I’m always creating new companies… If the FTC somehow, by a miracle, wipes me out, I’m not gonna sit there and cry about it. Like, I’m already working on other things’.

Through his startup, druglike, Shkreli’s trying to show the FTC and Big Pharma, you can take the ‘Bro’ out of ‘Pharma’, but you can’t take ‘Pharma’ out of the ‘Bro’. 

Shkreli’s $2 million Wu-Tang Clan controversy: Pharma Bro hits back at album scandal, saying ‘it was a win-win’

Separate from Shkreli’s drug scandals, yet inextricably intertwined, is Wu-Tang Clan’s exclusive album, ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’.

The legendary New York rap group sold their one-and-only copy of the record to Shkreli for $2 million, making it the most expensive piece of music ever sold up until that point.

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The buyer remained anonymous until December of that year when the group’s front-man RZA revealed that it was none other than the then 32-year-old disgraced CEO, Shkreli, who was arrested for securities fraud that very month and unapologetically hiked the price of Daraprim three months prior.

The scandalous news drew public outrage, to say the very least, including backlash from Wu-Tang Clan members, the most outspoken of which being Ghostface Killah, who called Shkreli a ‘sh**head’ and ‘fraud’.

Members of Grammy-nominated rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, take promo picture for their 2004 live album, 'Disciples of the 36 Chambers'. In 2015, Shkreli bought Wu-Tang's exclusive album 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' for $2 million

Members of Grammy-nominated rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, take promo picture for their 2004 live album, ‘Disciples of the 36 Chambers’. In 2015, Shkreli bought Wu-Tang’s exclusive album ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ for $2 million

In a 2016 interview with Bloomberg TV, RZA said that he had no hard feelings about selling the album to Shkreli because art doesn’t discriminate.

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In 2017, Wu-Tang Clan released a new LP, ‘The Saga Continues’, which featured the apparent Shkreli diss track, ‘Lesson Learn’d’. 

As for Shkreli’s thoughts on Wu-Tang’s reaction, he remarks, ‘I think RZA has no problem with me… Ghostface, I don’t know what his problem is. I think he’s just got a bad attitude about probably lots of things. And, you know, I didn’t cause him any harm.’

As for whether or not Shkreli regrets buying ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’, he tells DailMail.com, ‘No. I was able to sell it for a profit, and I still have it. So to me, that’s a win-win’. 

As to why he bought it, especially at the high price tag, he explains that it was a gesture of respect for music as an artform: ‘It could have been any piece of music, to be frank. It was more to say something about music in general’. 

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Shkreli elaborates, ‘I’ve always respected the group. I told RZA immediately, I said, “Listen, I confess that I’m not your biggest fan. Like, I don’t have posters of you on my wall,” you know? I’m not the Wu-Tang Authority. I’m doing this for other reasons. It’s like, just trying to explain to people that music is so precious, but we treat it with so much disrespect’. 

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