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

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

All about Omi­cron; We need more Covid an­tivi­rals; GSK snags Pfiz­er’s vac­cine ex­ec; Janet Wood­cock’s fu­ture at FDA; and more

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Usama Malik

Ex-Im­munomedics CFO charged with in­sid­er trad­ing, faces up to 20 years in prison af­ter al­leged­ly tip­ping off girl­friend and rel­a­tives of a PhI­II suc­cess

The former CFO of Immunomedics, who helped steer the company to its $21 billion buyout by Gilead last year, has been charged with insider trading, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Usama Malik tipped off his then-girlfriend and four others that a Phase III study for Trodelvy would be stopped early four days before Immunomedics publicly announced the result in April 2020, DoJ alleged in its complaint. The individuals then purchased Immunomedics shares, selling them after the news broke and Immunomedics’ stock price doubled.

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Merck's new antiviral molnupiravir (Quality Stock Arts / Shutterstock)

As Omi­cron spread looms, oral an­tivi­rals ap­pear to be one of the best de­fens­es — now we just need more

After South African scientists reported a new Covid-19 variant — dubbed Omicron by the WHO — scientists became concerned about how effective vaccines and monoclonal antibodies might be against it, which has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein.

“I think it is super worrisome,” Dartmouth professor and Adagio co-founder and CEO Tillman Gerngross told Endpoints News this weekend. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel echoed similar concerns, telling the Financial Times that experts warned him, “This is not going to be good.”

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Ab­b­Vie tacks on a new warn­ing to Rin­voq la­bel as safe­ty frets crimp JAK class

The safety problems that continue to plague the JAK class as new data highlight some severe side effects are casting a large shadow over AbbVie’s Rinvoq.

As a result of a recent readout highlighting major adverse cardiac events (MACE), malignancy, mortality and thrombosis with Xeljanz a couple of months ago, AbbVie put out a notice late Friday afternoon that it is adding the new class risks to its label for their rival drug.

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Biospec­i­men M&A: Dis­cov­ery ac­quires Al­bert Li's he­pa­to­cyte project; PhI­II tri­al on Bay­er's Nube­qa reached pri­ma­ry end­point

Discovery Life Sciences has acquired what claims to be the Maryland-based host of the world’s largest hepatocyte inventory, known as IVAL, to help researchers select more effective and safer drug candidates in the future.

The combined companies will now serve a wider range of drug research and development scientists, according to Albert Li, who founded IVAL in 2004 and is set to join the Discovery leadership team as the CSO of pharmacology and toxicology.

Pfiz­er, Am­gen and Janssen seek fur­ther clar­i­ty on FDA's new ben­e­fit-risk guid­ance

Three top biopharma companies are seeking more details from the FDA on how the agency conducts its benefit-risk assessments for new drugs and biologics.

While Pfizer, Amgen and Janssen praised the agency for further spelling out its thinking on the subject in a new draft guidance, including a discussion of patient experience data as part of the assessment, the companies said the FDA could’ve included more specifics in the 20-page draft document.

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Re­searchers move clos­er to de­ci­pher­ing blood clots from As­traZeneca, J&J's Covid-19 vac­cines

Researchers may be nearing an answer for the mysterious and life-threatening blood clots that appeared on very rare occasions in people who received the J&J or AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The new work builds on an early hypothesis researchers in Norway put forward last spring, when the cases first cropped up. They proposed the events were similar to blood clots that can occur in a small subset of patients who receive heparin, one of the most commonly used blood thinners.

Janet Woodcock (AP Images)

Janet Wood­cock plots her fu­ture at FDA, with se­nior ad­vi­sor role to fall back on if Califf wins con­fir­ma­tion

Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock has been the face of just about every drug approval decision at the agency since the turn of the century. Since the pandemic began, she’s moved between the top of the drugs center to the head of therapeutics at Operation Warp Speed, leading the drive for work on Covid-targeted mAbs and antivirals.

Looking forward — and pending a quick Senate confirmation to cement Rob Califf’s return to the top of FDA early next year — Woodcock’s role at the agency will again be in flux.

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