Martin Shkreli (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Mar­tin Shkre­li re­ceives life­time in­dus­try ban, forced to re­turn al­most $65M in prof­its af­ter an­ti­com­pet­i­tive scheme

Mar­tin Shkre­li will have to find a new nick­name.

A fed­er­al judge banned the for­mer biotech CEO and “Phar­ma Bro” from the drug in­dus­try on Fri­day, or­der­ing him to pay near­ly $65 mil­lion in il­lic­it prof­its. Shkre­li was con­vict­ed of se­cu­ri­ties fraud in 2017 and is cur­rent­ly serv­ing a sev­en-year prison sen­tence, though he orig­i­nal­ly gained no­to­ri­ety for rais­ing the price of the an­tipar­a­sitic drug Dara­prim from $13.50 to $750 in 2015.

“The risk of a re­cur­rence here is re­al,” Judge Denise Cote wrote in a 135-page opin­ion. “Shkre­li has not ex­pressed re­morse or any aware­ness that his ac­tions vi­o­lat­ed the law. While he takes full re­spon­si­bil­i­ty in his di­rect tes­ti­mo­ny for the in­crease of Dara­prim’s price from $17.50 to $750 per pill, he de­nies re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for vir­tu­al­ly any­thing else.”

New York at­tor­ney gen­er­al Leti­tia James al­so chimed in, say­ing in a state­ment that “Amer­i­cans can rest easy be­cause Mar­tin Shkre­li is a phar­ma bro no more.”

The FTC and sev­en states — Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Illi­nois, North Car­oli­na, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and Vir­ginia — brought the suit against Shkre­li in 2020, es­sen­tial­ly claim­ing he was run­ning a drug mo­nop­oly from prison. Shkre­li, reg­u­la­tors and states said, at­tempt­ed to pre­vent Dara­prim gener­ics from reach­ing the mar­ket by block­ing com­peti­tors’ ac­cess to a key in­gre­di­ent.

De­tails of the saga con­tin­ued trick­ling out in the two years since. Hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly brought at­ten­tion to him­self through his prison blogs and use of a con­tra­band cell phone, Shkre­li be­gan ac­tive­ly en­gag­ing in the an­ti­com­pet­i­tive scheme us­ing the prison’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems, which were record­ed and mon­i­tored.

Op­pos­ing lawyers pounced, us­ing the calls against him in their ar­gu­ments — claim­ing at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege did not ap­ply here — and push­ing for the life­time ban. Shkre­li’s lawyers, mean­while, as­sert­ed his sta­tus as a first-time of­fend­er meant he like­ly wouldn’t re­peat his il­lic­it ac­tiv­i­ties and sought a more le­nient 10-year in­dus­try re­stric­tion.

Ul­ti­mate­ly, the judge found Shkre­li’s ac­tions vi­o­lat­ed fed­er­al and state laws that pro­hib­it an­ti­com­pet­i­tive con­duct. Dara­prim gener­ics were de­layed mar­ket en­try by at least 18 months, Cote wrote, with Vy­era prof­it­ing $64.6 mil­lion from the scheme.

Fri­day’s rul­ing comes on the heels of an­oth­er court de­ci­sion against Shkre­li last month, in which Vy­era and its par­ent com­pa­ny, Phoenixus AG, were or­dered to pay more than $40 mil­lion for block­ing gener­ic Dara­prim ac­cess. Vy­era was re­quired to make Dara­prim avail­able to any po­ten­tial gener­ic com­peti­tor at list price and to pro­vide pri­or no­ti­fi­ca­tion of any planned phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal trans­ac­tion val­ued at $25 mil­lion or more.

Dara­prim had been the on­ly FDA-ap­proved drug to treat a po­ten­tial­ly life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion known as tox­o­plas­mo­sis. Im­muno­com­pro­mised in­di­vid­u­als and those with HIV are par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to the par­a­sitic dis­ease. Shkre­li’s 2015 move to spike the price by more than 4,000% be­came a flash­point in grow­ing crit­i­cism against in­dus­try-wide price-goug­ing.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bill Anderson, incoming Bayer CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bay­er taps Roche's Bill An­der­son to lead phar­ma gi­ant as CEO

We now know where Roche’s ex-pharma chief Bill Anderson is going.

German pharma giant Bayer announced Wednesday that Anderson will be taking on the role as CEO, less than six weeks after Anderson stepped down from his perch at Roche as head of the group’s pharmaceutical division.

Roche announced back in December that Anderson would depart on Dec. 31 to “pursue opportunities outside of Roche.” His replacement, Genentech vet and Roche’s current head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will start her role in March.

President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 159,000+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Iya Khalil, Merck VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences (Novartis)

Mer­ck-No­var­tis re­volv­ing door spins again as AI leader Iya Khalil switch­es phar­mas

As talk of AI this-and-that gobbles up headline after headline, one Big Pharma is losing its AI leader as she transitions to another drug giant: Iya Khalil will trade in her hat as Novartis’ go-to expert and leader in the space for Merck as VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences next week.

After nearly three years leading the artificial intelligence team at Novartis — as Big Pharma and biotechs alike latch onto the ripening AI-for-drug-discovery mode of operation — Khalil will switch employers to head up a similar post at Merck, where she’ll work out of Cambridge, MA beginning Feb. 13, the company tells Endpoints News.