Banned from Twit­ter, Mar­tin Shkre­li whips up a new on­line tirade in re­sponse to a mock­ing dig from PhRMA chief

Mar­tin Shkre­li

Up un­til a cou­ple of weeks ago, if any­one went af­ter Mar­tin Shkre­li, the price goug­ing ex-CEO of Tur­ing (and Retrophin be­fore that), he would im­me­di­ate­ly take to Twit­ter to fire off his pro­fan­i­ty-laced coun­ter­at­tacks. But then the for­mer biotech ex­ec, await­ing tri­al on fraud charges this sum­mer, was banned from Twit­ter for a se­ries of creepy tweets about his “love” for Lau­ren Duca, a Trump crit­ic who had spurred his in­stant-ire per­sona in­to ac­tion.

But no one banned Mar­tin “The Most Hat­ed Man in the World” Shkre­li from the In­ter­net and YouTube.

So when PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl mocked him on CN­BC to­day, say­ing that we were in need of few­er hood­ies — what Shkre­li wore for his perp walk a few months back — and more lab coats, he whipped up an in­stant web site at phar­maskele­tons.com and then nar­rat­ed his blow­back on YouTube.

“Steve, what I want­ed to tell you, as CEO of PhRMA, you are a Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ist piece of s@$t,” said Shkre­li. “You have done noth­ing for phar­ma. You’re not an evan­ge­list. You don’t know any­thing about phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. We need to drain the swamp of id­iots like you…. I’ve done what it takes to build a bil­lion-dol­lar phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny…What the f!*ck do you think you know about phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals?”

On the web site, Shkre­li writes:

Tur­ing is a small com­pa­ny re­search­ing drugs for rare dis­eases that no one else wants to. All of your mem­ber com­pa­nies, with a few hu­mor­ous ex­cep­tions, have bil­lions of dol­lars and don’t need price in­creas­es. I’m sor­ry if my com­pa­ny’s and pa­tients’ sur­vival is in­con­ve­nient to your gi­gan­tic in­come streams.

Look in the mir­ror. This web­site took me half an hour to make, just ‘mem­ber­ing a few mo­ments from the past. Phar­ma is a won­der­ful in­dus­try that does great things, but try­ing to throw me un­der the bus is fool­ish. Let me re­mind you 90% of your mem­bers’ CEOs could not hold a can­dle to me in sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge, achieve­ments or wealth and en­tre­pre­neur­ial achieve­ments.

And so on.

Stephen Ubl

Ubl was on CN­BC to tout the in­dus­try lob­by­ing group’s plans for a ma­jor ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign that aims to shore up pub­lic opin­ion at a time that the drug in­dus­try is stuck with one of the worst rep­u­ta­tions of any in­dus­try shy of used car sales — and that’s a maybe. Trump’s re­cent tirade against phar­ma in­clud­ed the com­ment that drug com­pa­nies have been “get­ting away with mur­der” on drug prices.

There’s no love lost be­tween Shkre­li and bio­phar­ma. BIO kicked Tur­ing and Shkre­li out of the or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter his 5000-plus% hike on the old gener­ic Dara­prim, which al­so earned a quick di­a­tribe from the young phar­ma dude. (We’ve al­so had a few ex­changes, in which Shkre­li likes to tell me I’m a mo­ron who can’t write. But then Shkre­li gets along with few jour­nal­ists.) He’s al­so not a big fan of most mem­bers of Con­gress, who re­cent­ly spelled out the biotech ex­ec’s plan to scam a quick bil­lion off of the Dara­prim play.

This time, Shkre­li was so an­gry he went on a rant against a whole laun­dry list of PhRMA mem­bers for var­i­ous in­frac­tions of one kind or an­oth­er. Shkre­li’s bot­tom line: Tur­ing is just a small-time play­er com­pared to com­pa­nies like Al­ler­gan, Pfiz­er, etc., etc.

The in­dus­try’s lead­ers would prob­a­bly love to see Shkre­li hauled in front of a judge and ju­ry, though he’ll nev­er face charges on price goug­ing. That’s le­gal in the US. And that’s al­so not in PhRMA’s nar­ra­tive.


Norbert Bischofberger. Kronos

Backed by some of the biggest names in biotech, Nor­bert Bischof­berg­er gets his megaround for plat­form tech out of MIT

A little over a year ago when I reported on Norbert Bischofberger’s jump from the CSO job at giant Gilead to a tiny upstart called Kronos, I noted that with his connections in biotech finance, that $18 million launch round he was starting off with could just as easily have been $100 million or more.

With his first anniversary now behind him, Bischofberger has that mega-round in the bank.

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Chas­ing Roche's ag­ing block­buster fran­chise, Am­gen/Al­ler­gan roll out Avastin, Her­ceptin knock­offs at dis­count

Let the long battle for biosimilars in the cancer space begin.

Amgen has launched its Avastin and Herceptin copycats — licensed from the predecessors of Allergan — almost two years after the FDA had stamped its approval on Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb) and three months after the Kanjinti OK (trastuzumab-anns). While the biotech had been fielding biosimilars in Europe, this marks their first foray in the US — and the first oncology biosimilars in the country.

Seer adds ex-FDA chief Mark Mc­Clel­lan to the board; Her­cules Cap­i­tal makes it of­fi­cial for new CEO Scott Bluestein

→ On the same day it announced a $17.5 million Series C, life sciences and health data company Seer unveiled that it had lured former FDA commissioner and ex-CMS administrator Mark McClellan on to its board. “Mark’s deep understanding of the health care ecosystem and visionary insights on policy reform will be crucial in informing our thinking as we work to bring our liquid biopsy and life sciences products to market,” said Seer chief and founder Omid Farokhzad in a statement.

Daniel O'Day

No­var­tis hands off 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams to the an­tivi­ral R&D mas­ters at Gilead

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day’s new task hunting up a CSO for the company isn’t stopping the industry’s dominant antiviral player from doing pipeline deals.

The big biotech today snapped up 3 preclinical antiviral programs from pharma giant Novartis, with drugs promising to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses. We don’t know what the upfront is, but the back end has $291 million in milestones baked in.

Vas Narasimhan, AP Images

On a hot streak, No­var­tis ex­ecs run the odds on their two most im­por­tant PhI­II read­outs. Which is 0.01% more like­ly to suc­ceed?

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan is living in the sweet spot right now.

The numbers are running a bit better than expected, the pipeline — which he assembled as development chief — is performing and the stock popped more than 4% on Thursday as the executive team ran through their assessment of Q2 performance.

Year-to-date the stock is up 28%, so the investors will be beaming. Anyone looking for chinks in their armor — and there are plenty giving it a shot — right now focus on payer acceptance of their $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma, where it’s early days. And CAR-T continues to underperform, but Novartis doesn’t appear to be suffering from it.

So what could go wrong?

Actually, not much. But Tim Anderson at Wolfe pressed Narasimhan and his development chief John Tsai to pick which of two looming Phase III readouts with blockbuster implication had the better odds of success.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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On a glob­al romp, Boehringer BD team picks up its third R&D al­liance for Ju­ly — this time fo­cused on IPF with $50M up­front

Boehringer Ingelheim’s BD team is on a global deal spree. The German pharma company just wrapped its third deal in 3 weeks, going back to Korea for its latest pipeline pact — this time focused on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

They’re handing over $50 million to get their hands on BBT-877, an ATX inhibitor from Korea’s Bridge Biotherapeutics that was on display at a science conference in Dallas recently. There’s not a whole lot of data to evaluate the prospects here.

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Servi­er scoots out of an­oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tion with Macro­Gen­ics, writ­ing off their $40M

Servier is walking out on a partnership with MacroGenics $MGNX — for the second time.

After the market closed on Wednesday MacroGenics put out word that Servier is severing a deal — inked close to 7 years ago — to collaborate on the development of flotetuzumab and other Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) drugs in its pipeline.

MacroGenics CEO Scott Koenig shrugged off the departure of Servier, which paid $20 million to kick off the alliance and $20 million to option flotetuzumab — putting a heavily back-ended $1 billion-plus in additional biobuck money on the table for the anti-CD123/CD3 bispecific and its companion therapies.