|Martin Shkreli, during one of his live streams|
For Martin Shkreli, getting arrested on federal charges revolving around allegations that he looted his former company to pay off everything from investment losses to rent and then getting bounced as CEO of Turing was just the beginning of a bad spell.
In fast order the groups operating an actual clinical trial of a drug for his public biotech KaloBios ($KBIO) suspended their efforts, pending the outcome of the federal prosecutors' work; this morning KaloBios announced that Shkreli had been fired as CEO; and over the weekend the former hedge fund manager says his Twitter account was hacked, allowing someone to make a few narcissistic remarks on his behalf and changing his handle to "Martin the God."
It was Martin the CEO, though, who is still feeling the fallout from his high-profile arrest.
KaloBios announced that Shkreli was bounced as CEO on the 17th, resigning from the board and exiting alongside Tony Chase, a close associate. That news followed a decision by researchers involved in a KaloBios trial to halt work on the therapy.
"Moffitt Cancer Center was among several participating sites of the clinical trial 'Study of KB003 in Previously Treated Patients With Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)' funded by KaloBios," a spokesperson for the research center told FierceBiotech in a statement. "The biopharmaceutical company holds ownership of the clinical trial and KB003 drug. Moffitt has suspended this clinical trial indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation of KaloBios' CEO, Martin Shkreli."
Trading in KaloBios' shares was halted last week, shortly after the indictment was announced. And Shkreli returned to Twitter to proclaim his innocence.
"I am confident I will prevail," he tweeted over the weekend. "The allegations are baseless and without merit."
Shkreli, who's spent months taunting an online mob after he moved to jack up the price of Daraprim by more than 5000%, meanwhile has adopted a more defensive position that's starting to look like damage control. Those taunts, he says, were really nothing but a social experiment using social media and an audience of millions.
"What do you do when you have the attention of millions of people? It seemed to me like it would be fun to experiment with," a somewhat chastened Shkreli told the Wall Street Journal in the interview. He said he was arrested "because of a social experiment and teasing people over the Internet," adding, "that seems like a real injustice."
"Quite frankly, it was not something I expected, and definitely not something I deserve given the facts," added Shkreli, saying that the arrest was actually due to the huge--and perfectly legal--increase in the drug price and the public furor that erupted over it.
Shkreli, though, had adopted an angry, gleefully insulting public persona on Twitter well before the mob showed up at his stream, which FierceBiotech learned about firsthand. In response to a story FierceBiotech wrote raising questions about his claimed $90 million venture round, a time when he had only a few thousand followers and virtually no public rep, Shkreli muttered "idiot" in a Tweet. Faced with a question from me about his price hike, and he quickly changed that to "moron."
"I still think he's a moron," the unapologetic former biotech CEO said in a follow-up interview.
Others faced similar or much more caustic responses from the biotech CEO who loved obscenity-laced rap lyrics and seemed to be increasingly delighted as the crowd grew. And he still caters to an online crowd. On Friday, he resumed live streaming portions of his life.