Biotech bad boy Martin Shkreli faces a new set of angry foes: federal prosecutors

Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli's short, frenzied romp as biotech's most hated CEO and Twitter troll has been capped by his arrest on charges of securities fraud.

The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager and Turing CEO rose to infamy earlier this year after raising the price of a 62-year-old drug by more than 5000%, then mocking the viral mob that formed online on Gawker and Reddit to taunt him over his greed. He continued to tempt fate by backing away from a promise to cut the price, bought the nearly defunct KaloBios and ran a vicious short squeeze that caused the stock price to soar, then set up another play around another rare disease drug in an attempt to game FDA regulations on a tempting incentive.

CNBC reported that Shkreli was arrested early this morning in New York by the FBI. Bloomberg was first to report the arrest.

The price of KaloBios' shares ($KBIO) instantly plunged by 50% on the news, but trading was halted early on after Nasdaq requested information from the biotech.

The charges against Shkreli reportedly follow a map laid out by his former biotech company, Retrophin, which booted Shkreli and then sued him for using company shares to settle debts he racked up in his former hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management.

It's what Shkreli did that was perfectly legal, though, that made him most controversial. Taking a generic drug and raising the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill provoked outrage around the world, but there was nothing to stop him from doing exactly that. The issue on drug pricing has now become a hot topic in Congress and in the presidential campaign, and Shkreli's unrelenting defiance in the face of politicians' scorn helped keep the topic in the news through the fall.

"You are such a moron," he Tweeted in response to my query on the price three months ago. But that was tame compared to the gleeful insults he handed out freely in recent months. Just before news of his arrest hit Thursday morning, he was back at it, attracting the spotlight once again after making a crude sexual reference to singer Taylor Swift in an interview.

This morning, though, his Twitter stream was uncharacteristically silent.