If you thought we wouldn't be hearing from Martin Shkreli after he was packed off to serve seven years for securities fraud, think again. The pharma bro, infamous for his combative tweets and general "insolent" demeanor, may be blogging biopharma tips—from prison.
While it's unclear if it actually is Shkreli behind the blog, the prose certainly reads like his. According to the blog, he writes via TRULINCS, a limited email system used by corrections systems, sending posts to a friend, who then publishes them. The first post, published July 1 but dated June 30, reads: "I’ll be discussing biopharmaceuticals and other topics. I am not recommending any stocks or making investment advice. This is merely me 'thinking out loud'."
Some of those thoughts? He's "skeptical"of Sage Therapeutics, whose postpartum depression (PPD) drug brexanolone is on track for an FDA decision by Dec. 19.
"PPD is unlikely to be a major market and I’m suspicious of the preliminary findings with the GABAergic agent," the blog reads.
And "[some] in the biopharma industry lost its collective mind for a minute or two]" on Nektar Therapeutics, which uses its PEGylation platform to reduce the toxicity of the inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-2 (IL-2). The company recently presented a "confusing" set of phase 1/2 data for its immuno-oncology asset NKTR-214, which is made of IL-2 protein bound by multiple releasable polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains, at ASCO.
"No, the cure for cancer is not pegylated Proleukin. [...] You can’t call it a bubble without some inflation. Back to reality… this drug doesn’t work," the blog reads.
As for Beigene, the blog was succinct: "I believe this emporer [sic] may have no clothes. Or, at least at this price, you’re paying Armani for Old Navy."
Shkreli was much reviled for raising the price of the HIV-related med Daraprim by 5000%—so much so that the judge handling his trial had trouble finding jurors. Many prospective jurors admitted they could not be impartial, with individuals calling Shkreli a "snake," and "the face of corporate greed." Others still conflated his actions with drug price hikes in general, with three prospects lashed out at him for raising the price of EpiPen.
He was convicted of three of eight charges of securities fraud last August, and faced up to 20 years in prison. In March, he was handed a seven-year sentence and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.