Turing CCO Claims Execs Retaliated After Shkreli’s Friend and Co-Founder Resigned Due to Sexual Assault Allegations

Turing CCO Claims Execs Retaliated After Shkreli’s Friend and Co-Founder Resigned Due to Sexual Assault Allegations August 24, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

NEW YORK – Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that gained notoriety for a 5,000 percent increase on a 65-year-old drug, is once again facing scrutiny—except this time it’s for something much direr. Now the company is under fire for allegedly retaliating against a female employee who filed a sexual assault complaint.

Earlier this year Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, filed a federal complaint against a former company executive, claiming he sexually assaulted her in a hotel earlier this year and also alleges the company has since retaliated against her, denying her promotions and certain compensations she says she was guaranteed, the New York Times reported. The complaint was filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In the complaint, Retzlaff said during a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congress over Turing’s pricing practices for Daraprim, she was assaulted by Edwin Urrutria, a co-founder of the company. At the time of the alleged assault, Urrutria was a member of the board of directors and was also serving as interim chief executive officer following the departure of Martin Shkreli, who resigned from the top spot after being indicted in December 2015 on seven counts of investor fraud.

At the time, Retzlaff did not report Urrutria to the company, the Times said, but a co-worker who also apparently received unwelcome advances from him did. Turing hired an outside investigator to look into the matter and enough evidence was obtained to support the claims, the Times said. Urrutria resigned from the company. He now works for the venture capital firm, EUKU Agency, the Times said.

According to the complaint, Retzlaff said following the departure Urrutria, she was a candidate for become the next chief executive officer and was also promised restricted stock, but neither of those came to be. Retzlaff said it was retaliation, according to the complaint.

The complaint also says that Shkreli created an environment of sexism and vulgar behavior—one that set the tone for the rest of the company. She claims that Shkreli still maintains a strong hand in Turing’s business and has been angered over the resignation of Urrutria, a close friend of his, the Times said, citing the complaint.

Shkreli denied having anything to do with Turing’s operations and in an interview with the Times, praised Retzlaff, saying in many ways she was the “boss” of the company. She had been groomed for the CEO position, but ultimately “fell a little bit short of expectations,” which is the reason she did not receive things she was expected to, Shkreli said, according to the Times report.

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