Turing CEO and Shkreli Associate Exits Top Post, CSO Takes Over

Turing CEO and Shkreli Associate Exits Top Post, CSO Takes Over April 24, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

NEW YORK – Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company made infamous by founder Martin Shkreli, appears to be slowly cleaning house of at least some leaders associated with the tenure of the former chief executive officer who resigned his position after being charged with securities fraud.

On Sunday, Turing confirmed rumors first reported by Endpoints that CEO Ron Tilles, a longtime associate of Shkreli, is no longer at the reins of the company. Tilles had been serving as interim CEO of the company since December 2015, following Shkreli’s resignation. He will continue to remain a member of the company’s board of directors, Turing said. At the time, New York-based Turing said it was going to undergo a search for a permanent CEO, but has apparently not made much headway on that project.

In addition to his role at Turing, Tilles also helped Shkreli co-found Retrophin and also helped him acquire the funds to take over beleaguered KaloBios , which later terminated its association with Shkreli following the charges brought against Shkreli.

With Tilles being removed from the CEO spot, Turing said Eliseo Salinas, chief scientific officer at Turing, will take over as interim CEO.

“Dr. Salinas will guide Turing as it moves forward to maximize Daraprim’s success as the primary alternative for the treatment of toxoplasmosis in combination with a sulfonamide, and to advance the promising pipeline of new compounds for severe parasitic infections, while Mr. Tilles will remain a member of Turing’s board,” Turing said in its statement to Endpoints.

Salinas served as the former head of research and development at chief at Elan and also helmed the research programs at StemCells and Relmada, Endpoints noted.

Daraprim is, of course, the 65-year-old drug at the center of the controversy that made Shkreli one of the most hated men in America. In 2015, Turing acquired the drug for $55 million, then implemented a 5,000 percent price increase overnight. The medication was available for $13.50 per tablet, but Turing increased the price to $750 per tablet, which drastically raises the cost of treatment for patients. Daraprim is used by about 2,000 people in the United States annually for a period of six to 12 weeks. Not only did Shkreli hike the price as dramatically as he did, he later told a Forbes panel that he should have raised the price even higher.

Shkreli will go to court in June to face the seven indictments against him. In December 2015, the federal government charged Shkreli with seven counts of securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. According to the indictment against Shkreli, he and his partners, including attorney Evan Greebel, orchestrated three interrelated fraudulent schemes—a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in MSMB Capital; a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in MSMB Healthcare; and a scheme to defraud Retrophin, the company Shkreli founded. The indictment said Shkreli’s scheme, which caused his investors to suffer a loss of more than $11 million, was carried out over a five-year period, from 2009 to 2014.

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