Martin Shkreli Speaks from Prison About the Biopharma Industry
Published: Jul 05, 2018 By Alex Keown
If you thought a prison sentence would mean a reprieve from the online musings of Martin Shkreli, you were wrong.
Shkreli, or at least someone posting on MartinShkreli.com, has been blogging about the biopharma industry from prison. The writer employs the same snarky mannerisms as Shkreli did in other postings before he was imprisoned. So far there are entries from July 1 and June 30 on the Web page with thoughts about a number of topics – from biopharma to politics to sports. On the page Shkreli (again, assuming it is him writing the posts and from here on we will act as if it is him) said he would not recommend any stocks or provide investment tips – something he often did on social media platforms when he was a free man. He notes on the first post that the blog is “merely me ‘thinking out loud.’”
Shkreli does point to a number of things going on in the industry, including Global Blood Therapeutics , which he said “intrigues me.” He also referred to Novartis’ recent decision to spin off Alcon into a standalone business, which he referred to as a “much-telegraphed sale,” as well as GE’s decision to spin its healthcare business off into a separate business following a strategic review. Shkreli said the issues that prompted the larger companies to spin those businesses off into separate entities “reminds us conglomerates are more out of fashion than probably at any point in the history of business.”
Shkreli also said he was skeptical of Sage Pharmaceuticals. “PPD is unlikely to be a major market and I’m suspicious of the preliminary findings with the GABAergic agent,” he said referring to brexanalone, which is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is set to make a decision on the postpartum depression treatment by Dec. 19.
Shkreli also took shots at Nektar Therapeutics, saying “the cure for cancer is not pegylated Proleukin.” Shkreli was referring to a presentation the company made at ASCO regarding its asset NKTR-214, which is designed to bind to the CD122 receptor on the surface of cancer-fighting immune cells. In February Nektar and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company forged a $1.85 billion development deal to pair NKTR-214 with checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo as a potential treatment for 20 different cancers. At ASCO the company presented mixed results that showed 85 percent of melanoma patients who took the combination treatment had tumor shrinkage, but the response rate dropped to 50 percent when 14 more patients were added. The same was true in kidney cancer. The response dropped from 64 percent to 46 percent when more patients were added.
Shkreli is not a fan. “Back to reality… this drug doesn’t work,” he wrote.
One subject that Shkreli said he would not likely talk about is prison, as it’s in “bad taste.” He noted that his blog will be read by prison employees and possibly inmates, so he will not discuss life behind bars, as it is “easier (and safer) for me to just avoid certain topics.”
Shkreli said he is writing his blog on the “TRULINCS” prison email system and sending the information to a friend who posts his musings on the site. He noted that people can email the blog and the messages will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service to his prison, or people could write to him at the federal prison at Fort Dix in New Jersey.