He’s been pilloried — called a “putz” as well as “the most hated man in America” — for his decision to raise the price of a life-saving drug by more than 4,000 percent. He’s been arrested for securities fraud, resigned from the boards of at least two companies, been shredded by the punk bands whose label he bankrolled, and even faced calls to return the single existing copy of a Wu-Tang Clan record for which he paid $2 million. Also, he said his Twitter account was hacked.
But the final insult — at least, for now — to “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli: one of the companies he ran has filed for bankruptcy. KaloBios has sought Chapter 11 protection, as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware reported. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed to give companies time to reorganize and does not necessarily mean going out of business.
In the tangled drama that surrounds this hipster CEO, KaloBios was not the largest player. That would be Turing Pharmaceuticals — Shkreli’s company that bought the rights to Daraprim, which treats a potentially deadly condition called toxoplasmosis affecting HIV patients and others with compromised immune systems, then raised the price of the 62-year-old drug from $13.50 to $750.
Turing, however, is still in business after Shkreli’s resignation as CEO. KaloBios, which makes cancer drugs, fired Shkreli after his arrest and was delisted from the NASDAQ — a decision it is appealing. The Associated Press called the company, which Reuters reported has assets and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million, is “faltering.” Shares haven’t traded since Dec. 18, the day after Shkreli’s arrest, when they closed at $23.59.
But the smiling faces on Kalobios’s website offer no hint of the financial fallout. There, all is devoted to “better life through better science.”
“KaloBios is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to helping the lives of patients with innovative therapies,” the site reads. “Our mission is to improve the lives of cancer patients.”
Shkreli, meanwhile, has contended his arrest was the result of a price hike condemned by presidential candidates of both parties — and most of the rest of the known universe.
“I am confident I will prevail,” Shkreli tweeted earlier this month. “The allegations against me are baseless and without merit.”