Ju­ry finds Mar­tin Shkre­li guilty on 3 counts of se­cu­ri­ties fraud — and he's 'de­light­ed'

A ju­ry has found Mar­tin Shkre­li guilty on three of the 8 felony fraud charges he faced, putting the young biotech ex­ec­u­tive in front of a prison sen­tence that could run for years.

Af­ter 5 full days of de­lib­er­a­tions, the ju­ry con­clud­ed that Shkre­li was guilty of two of the se­cu­ri­ties fraud changes and one count of con­spir­a­cy to com­mit fraud.

Ever un­re­pen­tant, Shkre­li will not be throw­ing him­self on the mer­cy of the court. Nev­er one to shy away from self-con­grat­u­la­tions, Shkre­li emerged from the cour­t­house and de­clared a re­sound­ing vic­to­ry.

“I think we’re de­light­ed in many ways with this ver­dict,” he told re­porters. The case against him was an “epic witch hunt” and all the pros­e­cu­tors did was find some old broom­sticks. The key, as far as he and de­fense at­tor­ney Ben Braf­man were con­cerned, was get­ting off on count 7 re­lat­ed to loot­ing Retrophin of mil­lions.

“I think we would love to have a com­plete sweep but 5 out of 8 counts not guilty is in our view a very good ver­dict,” said Braf­man. The case, he added, was made dif­fi­cult by an­ti-Shkre­li sen­ti­ment, but he sound­ed con­fi­dent that Shkre­li will be let off with a “very le­nient” sen­tence.

Shkre­li head­ed straight to his lap­top and a ren­dezvous with his fol­low­ers on YouTube. And he quick­ly scoffed at the idea that he would get more than a year-long sen­tence in prison.

“Those pun­ish­ments are go­ing to be close to nil,” he said about be­ing con­vict­ed of ly­ing to in­vestors, af­ter re­view­ing the sen­tenc­ing guide­lines. “You can add up all the points of an of­fense and de­ter­mine what the pun­ish­ment would be.” Prison sen­tences are di­rect­ly re­lat­ed to fi­nan­cial loss, he added. “My in­vestors didn’t lose any mon­ey, they tripled their mon­ey.”

And: “No jail time would be def­i­nite­ly ide­al. If the charges stand it’s pos­si­ble it’s a 6 month or a one-year sen­tence.” A few months in “Club Fed,” he boast­ed, and he would be back on the streets.

Shkre­li faced 8 counts ac­cus­ing him of de­fraud­ing in­vestors in his hedge funds, then pay­ing them back with stock he loot­ed from Retrophin, a biotech com­pa­ny he found­ed. Some of those in­vestors were al­so hand­ed pho­ny con­sult­ing agree­ments to help cov­er his moves, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

Shkre­li be­came a wide­ly hat­ed poster child for phar­ma greed af­ter rais­ing the price of an old, cheap drug he bought by more than 5000%. But while it proved loath­some to mil­lions, and a wide va­ri­ety of law­mak­ers in both par­ties, there’s no law against it in the US.

In fact, Shkre­li still owns a big chunk of Tur­ing, which in turn sells dara­prim. He re­cent­ly fend­ed off an at­tempt­ed board coup, lin­ing up the elec­tion of a slate of new di­rec­tors with whom he has close ties.

For much of the past two years Shkre­li has mocked and taunt­ed jour­nal­ists who cov­ered his sto­ry, as well as a le­gion of crit­ics who took pot shots at him on the so­cial me­dia out­lets he avid­ly em­ployed. Shkre­li was re­cent­ly banned from Twit­ter, though, and won’t have much ac­cess to his on­line streams on YouTube if he winds up in jail.

Shkre­li has re­peat­ed­ly tried to get back on to Twit­ter af­ter they re­peat­ed­ly blocked ear­li­er at­tempts. This evening, his lat­est stab@SamThe­ManTP  went down abrupt­ly, blocked af­ter he used it to de­fend his con­vic­tion as a win.

Im­age: Mar­tin Shkre­li right af­ter his ver­dict was an­nounced. Cred­it: Get­ty

Nick Leschly via Getty

UP­DAT­ED: Blue­bird shares sink as an­a­lysts puz­zle out $1.8M stick­er shock and an un­ex­pect­ed de­lay

Blue­bird bio $BLUE has un­veiled its price for the new­ly ap­proved gene ther­a­py Zyn­te­glo (Lenti­Glo­bin), which came as a big sur­prise. And it wasn’t the on­ly un­ex­pect­ed twist in to­day’s sto­ry.

With some an­a­lysts bet­ting on a $900,000 price for the β-tha­lassemia treat­ment in Eu­rope, where reg­u­la­tors pro­vid­ed a con­di­tion­al ear­ly OK, blue­bird CEO Nick Leschly said Fri­day morn­ing that the pa­tients who are suc­cess­ful­ly treat­ed with their drug over 5 years will be charged twice that — $1.8 mil­lion — on the con­ti­nent. That makes this drug the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive ther­a­py on the plan­et, just be­hind No­var­tis’ new­ly ap­proved Zol­gens­ma at $2.1 mil­lion, with an­a­lysts still wait­ing to see what kind of pre­mi­um can be had in the US.

Neil Woodford, Woodford Investment Management via YouTube

Un­der siege, in­vest­ment man­ag­er Wood­ford faces an­oth­er in­vest­ment shock

Em­bat­tled UK fund man­ag­er Neil Wood­ford — who has con­tro­ver­sial­ly blocked in­vestors from pulling out from his flag­ship fund to stem the blood­let­ting, af­ter a slew of dis­ap­point­ed in­vestors fled fol­low­ing a se­ries of sour bets — is now pay­ing the price for his ac­tions via an in­vestor ex­o­dus on an­oth­er fund.

Har­g­reaves Lans­down, which has in the past sold and pro­mot­ed the Wood­ford funds via its re­tail in­vest­ment plat­form, has re­port­ed­ly with­drawn £45 mil­lion — its en­tire po­si­tion — from the in­vest­ment man­ag­er’s In­come Fo­cus Fund.


Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics poised to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval, with new piv­otal da­ta on its sick­le cell dis­ease drug

Global Blood Therapeutics is set to submit an application for accelerated approval in the second-half of this year, after unveiling fresh data from a late-stage trial that showed just over half the patients given the highest dose of its experimental sickle cell disease drug experienced a statistically significant improvement in oxygen-wielding hemoglobin, meeting the study's main goal.

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Turns out, Rudy Tanzi did­n't see much of a sto­ry about a hid­den link be­tween En­brel and Alzheimer's ei­ther

The Wash­ing­ton Post man­aged to whip up the quick­est in­dus­try con­sen­sus I’ve ever seen that one of its re­porters was pur­vey­ing overblown non­sense with a sto­ry that Pfiz­er was sit­ting on da­ta sug­gest­ing that En­brel could be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for Alzheimer’s. 

In cov­er­ing that bit of an­ti-Big Phar­ma fan­ta­sy — there are lots of rea­sons to go af­ter phar­ma, but this piece was lu­di­crous — I not­ed com­ments in the sto­ry from some promi­nent peo­ple in the field crit­i­ciz­ing Pfiz­er for not pub­lish­ing the da­ta. I sin­gled out Rudy Tanzi at Har­vard and then ap­plied some added crit­i­cism for the things he’s done to hype — in my opin­ion — high­ly ques­tion­able as­sump­tions. You can see it in the link. 

Gene ther­a­pies seize the top of the list of the most ex­pen­sive drugs on the plan­et — and that trend has just be­gun

Anyone looking for a few simple reasons why the gene therapy field has caught fire with the pharma giants need only look at the new list of the 10 most expensive therapies from GoodRx.

Two recently approved gene therapies sit atop this list, with Novartis’ Zolgensma crowned the king of the priciest drugs at $2.1 million. Right below is Luxturna, the $850,000 pioneer from Spark, which Roche is pushing hard to acquire as it adds a gene therapy group to the global mix.

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J&J gains an en­thu­si­as­tic en­dorse­ment from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for their big new drug Spra­va­to

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has lit­tle love for Big Phar­ma, but there’s at least one new drug that just hit the mar­ket which he is en­am­ored with.

Trump, ev­i­dent­ly, has been read­ing up on J&J’s new an­ti-de­pres­sion drug, Spra­va­to. And the pres­i­dent — who of­ten likes to break out in­to a full-throat­ed at­tack on greedy drug­mak­ers — ap­par­ent­ly en­thused about the ther­a­py in a meet­ing with of­fi­cials of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, which has long grap­pled with de­pres­sion among vet­er­ans.

Bain’s biotech team has cre­at­ed a $1B-plus fund — with an eye to more Big Phar­ma spin­outs

One of the biggest investors to burst onto the biotech scene in recent years has re-upped with more than a billion dollars flowing into its second fund. And this next wave of bets will likely include more of the Big Pharma spinouts that highlighted their first 3 years in action.

Adam Koppel and Jeff Schwartz got the new life sciences fund at Bain Capital into gear in the spring of 2016, as they were putting together a $720 million fund with $600 million flowing in from external investors and the rest drawn from the Bain side of the equation. This time the external investors chipped in $900 million, with Bain coming in for roughly $180 million more.

They’re not done with Fund I, with plans to add a couple more deals to the 15 they’ve already posted. And once again, they’re estimating another 15 to 20 investments over a 3- to 5-year time horizon for Fund II.

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News­mak­ers at #EHA19: Re­gen­eron, Ar­Qule track progress on re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s close­ly-watched bis­pe­cif­ic con­tin­ues to ring up high re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s high-pro­file bis­pe­cif­ic REGN1979 is back in the spot­light at the Eu­ro­pean Hema­tol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion sci­en­tif­ic con­fab. And while the stel­lar num­bers we saw at ASH have erod­ed some­what as more blood can­cer pa­tients are eval­u­at­ed, the re­sponse rates for this CD3/CD20 drug re­main high.

A to­tal of 13 out of 14 fol­lic­u­lar lym­phomas re­spond­ed to the drug, a 93% ORR, down from 100% at the last read­out. In 10 out of 14, there was a com­plete re­sponse. In dif­fuse large B-cell lym­phoma the re­sponse rate was 57% among pa­tients treat­ed at the 80 mg to 160 mg dose range. They were all com­plete re­spons­es. And 2 of these Cars were for pa­tients who had failed CAR-T ther­a­py.

Search­ing for the next block­buster to fol­low Darza­lex, J&J finds a $150M an­ti-CD38 drug from part­ner Gen­mab

Now that J&J and Genmab have thrust Darzalex onto the regulatory orbit for first-line use in multiple myeloma, the partners are lining up a deal for a next-gen follow-on to the leading CD38 drug.

Janssen — J&J’s biotech unit — has its eyes on HexaBody-CD38, a preclinical compound generated on Genmab’s tech platform designed to make drugs more potent via hexamerization.

Genmab is footing the bill on studies in multiple myeloma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; once it completes clinical proof of concept, Janssen has the option to license the drug for a $150 million exercise fee. There’s also $125 million worth of milestones in play.

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