Is Mar­tin Shkre­li blog­ging from prison?

Say what you will about Mar­tin Shkre­li, but the guy ap­pears to have a re­lent­less re­silience to be heard. A few months in­to his prison sen­tence at Fort Dix, Shkre­li might be blog­ging from his cell.

That’s ac­cord­ing to ac­tiv­i­ty on this site — mar­tin­shkre­ — which saw its first en­try post­ed yes­ter­day. Al­though it’s still un­clear if the blog is gen­uine, the first post was writ­ten in Shkre­li’s now-fa­mil­iar wry voice and style. He shares his per­son­al con­tact in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing an email ad­dress you can send ques­tions to. His peo­ple will print the emails and “snail mail” them to Shkre­li at the cor­rec­tion­al fa­cil­i­ty, the post says.

I’ve reached out to Fort Dix, the prison where Shkre­li is cur­rent­ly serv­ing his 7-year sen­tence for se­cu­ri­ties fraud, to see if Shkre­li can ac­tu­al­ly post blogs while in­car­cer­at­ed. What ac­cess does he have to the in­ter­net? In what cir­cum­stances would the fa­cil­i­ty in­ter­fere with his blog­ging? The in­sti­tu­tion took my call, but said it need­ed time to re­spond. I’m still wait­ing to hear back.

If the blog is in­deed gen­uine, it seems Shkre­li is de­ter­mined to share his thoughts on in­dus­try mat­ters. The first sec­tion of his first en­try is com­men­tary on bio stocks and in­dus­try news, with mus­ings like the one be­low:

No­var­tis’ much-telegraphed sale of Al­con and the con­tin­ued im­plo­sion of GE re­minds us con­glom­er­ates are more out of fash­ion than prob­a­bly at any point in the his­to­ry of busi­ness. This flies in the face of me­chan­i­cal log­ic, but prac­ti­cal­ly makes sense. Find­ing good man­agers is hard (I’ve maybe found a very small hand­ful of de­cent man­agers out of close to 1000 I’ve em­ployed over the years) and con­glom­er­ates can on­ly work if you have an en­gaged CEO (about 5% of CEOs) and en­gaged man­agers (less than 5%? less than 10%?), which prob­a­bil­i­ty tells you is far low­er.

Then he out­lines sci­en­tif­ic pa­pers he’s read from prison and adds notes on what he thinks about each. Last, he ded­i­cates a few para­graphs to his per­son­al life.

“I have around 38 months to go as­sum­ing no suc­cess on an ap­peal,” he wrote. “I spend most of my team [sic] read­ing. A news­pa­per mis­re­port­ed that I’m ‘buff’. This is not the case.”

He al­so writes that news out­lets have mis­re­port­ed facts about his as­sets.

“Oh, the Wu-Tang al­bum is still in my pos­ses­sion,” he wrote. “As are all of my as­sets.”

News writ­ers re­port­ed back in March that US Dis­trict Judge Kiyo Mat­sumo­to or­dered Shkre­li to for­feit $7.36 mil­lion. But that or­der got stayed — as we re­port­ed — pend­ing Shkre­li’s ap­peal, which could take a year or so to wrap up.

The news of Shkre­li’s blog was first not­ed by Christie Smythe, a le­gal jour­nal­ist who’s writ­ing a book about Shkre­li. Fol­low the con­ver­sa­tion via this tweet, and we’ll up­date this sto­ry once Fort Dix gets back to us:

Im­age: Mar­tin Shkre­li. SHUT­TER­STOCK

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Ken Frazier, AP Images

Why Mer­ck wait­ed, and what they now bring to the Covid-19 fight

Nicholas Kartsonis had been running clinical infectious disease research at Merck for almost 2 years when, in mid-January, he got a new assignment: Searching the Pharma giant’s vast libraries for something that could treat the novel coronavirus.

The outbreak was barely two weeks old when Kartsonis and a few dozen others got to work, first in small teams and then in a larger task force that sucked in more and more parts of the sprawling company as Covid-19 infected more and more of the globe. By late February, the group began formally searching for vaccine and antiviral candidates to license. Still, while other companies jumped out to announce their programs and, eventually and sometimes controversially,early glimpses at human data, Merck remained silent. They made only a brief announcement about a data collection partnership in April and mentioned vaguely a vaccine and antiviral search in their April 28 earnings call.

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Mark Genovese (Stanford via Twitter)

Gilead woos fil­go­tinib clin­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tor from Stan­ford to lead the charge on NASH, in­flam­ma­to­ry dis­eases

With an FDA OK for the use of filgotinib in rheumatoid arthritis expected to drop any day now, Gilead has recruited a new leader from academia to lead its foray into inflammatory diseases.

Mark Genovese — a longtime Stanford professor and most recently the clinical chief in the division of immunology and rheumatology — was the principal investigator in FINCH 2, one of three studies that supported Gilead’s NDA filing. In his new role as SVP, inflammation, he will oversee the clinical development of the entire portfolio.

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Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Stephen Isaacs, Aduro president and CEO (Aduro)

Once a high fly­er, a stag­ger­ing Aduro is auc­tion­ing off most of the pipeline as CEO Stephen Isaacs hands off the shell to new own­ers

After a drumbeat of failure, setbacks and reorganizations over the last few years, Aduro CEO Stephen Isaacs is handing over his largely gutted-out shell of a public company to another biotech company and putting up some questionable assets in a going-out-of-business sale.

Isaacs —who forged a string of high-profile Big Pharma deals along the way — has wrapped a 13-year run at the biotech with one program for kidney disease going to the new owners at Chinook Therapeutics. A host of once-heralded assets like their STING agonist program partnered with Novartis (which dumped their work on ADU-S100 after looking over weak clinical results), the Lilly-allied cGAS-STING inhibitor program and the anti-CD27 program out-licensed to Merck will all be posted for auction under a strategic review process.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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No­var­tis chips in $10M for IPO-bound part­ner Pli­ant; Tenax shares soar on heart drug da­ta

Novartis is coming in with $10 million to help support the looming IPO of a partner. Pliant Therapeutics posted a new filing with the SEC showing that Novartis is buying the shares at $15, the mid-point of the range. It’s adding several million shares to the offering, bringing the total to around $135 million. Biotech companies have been enjoying quite a run on virtual Wall Street, with investors boosting new offerings to some big hauls.

Hill­house re­casts spot­light on Chi­na's biotech scene with $160M round for Shang­hai-based an­ti­body mak­er

Almost two years after first buying into Genor Biopharma’s pipeline of cancer and autoimmune therapies, Hillhouse Capital has led a $160 million cash injection to push the late-stage assets over the finish line while continuing to fund both internal R&D and dealmaking.

The Series B has landed right around the time Genor would have listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to plans reported by Bloomberg late last year. Insiders had said that the company was looking to raise about $200 million.

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Bris­tol My­ers Squib­b's just-launched MS drug Zeposia makes the cut in key ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis tri­al

In March, Zeposia became the third oral S1P modulator to secure US approval for multiple sclerosis. Now, the drug has succeeded in a key ulcerative colitis study.

The immunomodulator, akin to others in its class, controls lymphocyte trafficking by limiting the white blood cells to the lymphatic system, in the lymph nodes, and thwarting their ability to jam up lymph nodes — precluding their ability to penetrate the bloodstream and the central nervous system.