Scoop: Tur­ing is con­sid­er­ing a $100M cash of­fer for the drug that trig­gered a na­tion­al scan­dal over drug pric­ing

Tur­ing Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals has re­ceived a $100 mil­lion of­fer for the drug that trig­gered a na­tion­al up­roar over drug price goug­ing, End­points News has learned.

Eliseo Sali­nas

The com­pa­ny, launched by Mar­tin Shkre­li be­fore he be­came a light­ning rod in the con­tro­ver­sy over ex­treme drug pric­ing, was sup­posed to gath­er votes to­day on pro­posed mem­bers of the board at Tur­ing. That vote was sched­uled af­ter re­search chief Eliseo Sali­nas took over re­cent­ly as in­ter­im CEO as var­i­ous fac­tions fought for con­trol of the com­pa­ny.

In­stead of a board vote, though, Sali­nas dis­trib­uted a let­ter to share­hold­ers to­day say­ing that the vote would be post­poned as the com­pa­ny con­sid­ers an of­fer of $100 mil­lion in cash for Dara­prim from an un­named third par­ty.

One of the in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in the vote sent a copy of the let­ter to End­points News, which has been cov­er­ing this sto­ry from the be­gin­ning.

The bid­der “has con­duct­ed sig­nif­i­cant due dili­gence on Dara­prim un­der a Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty Agree­ment, and is com­mit­ted to clos­ing the trans­ac­tion with­in 30 days of ac­cep­tance of the of­fer, sub­ject to a pos­si­ble de­lay for Hart-Scott-Rodi­no fil­ing or oth­er le­gal or reg­u­la­to­ry re­views,” the let­ter states.

The let­ter goes on to say that the of­fer ar­rived last Fri­day and is be­ing re­viewed for fair­ness. That re­view is ex­pect­ed by the end of May. It goes on to add that the com­pa­ny has been con­sid­er­ing a sale, merg­er or new cap­i­tal in­fu­sion for the past year, af­ter the con­tro­ver­sy over Shkre­li’s de­ci­sion to jack up the price of Dara­prim by more than 5000% erupt­ed in­to con­tro­ver­sy.

Tur­ing is a pri­vate com­pa­ny and has nev­er re­vealed ex­act­ly what it’s been mak­ing on Dara­prim af­ter buy­ing it from Im­pax for $55 mil­lion, hik­ing the price of the old drug from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.

The com­pa­ny con­firmed the talks late Tues­day and is­sued this state­ment:

“In keep­ing with stan­dard cor­po­rate prac­tice, Tur­ing’s Board is ful­fill­ing its fidu­cia­ry oblig­a­tion to eval­u­ate a cred­i­ble of­fer for DARA­PRIM that was re­cent­ly re­ceived from a rep­utable phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal en­ti­ty. Due to con­fi­den­tial­i­ty re­stric­tions, we can­not dis­close in­for­ma­tion about the of­fer­or. Tur­ing con­tin­ues to fo­cus on de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of in­no­v­a­tive treat­ments for se­ri­ous dis­eases and con­di­tions across a broad range of ther­a­peu­tic ar­eas.”

Shkre­li, who first of­fered to re­duce the price, in­stead scam­pered away, taunt­ing crit­ics and claim­ing that his move was just small time when com­pared to Big Phar­ma’s an­nu­al price hikes. He is now fac­ing a tri­al on un­re­lat­ed fed­er­al fraud charges next month in a Man­hat­tan court­room.

Mar­tin Shkre­li, for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for Tur­ing Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals AG, left, ar­rives at Fed­er­al Court with his at­tor­ney Ben­jamin Braf­man on Ju­ly 14, 2016 Bloomberg/Get­ty

Shkre­li’s tri­al is slat­ed to be­gin June 26, 5 days af­ter the CEO sched­uled a new board vote.

If the sale goes through, the let­ter con­tin­ues, in­vestors will be in line for $11 to $13 a share, once enough cash is set aside for le­gal and oth­er con­tin­gen­cies. The com­pa­ny will con­tin­ue to work in R&D, ac­cord­ing to the CEO.

Sali­nas took over the com­pa­ny re­cent­ly af­ter serv­ing as re­search chief. He re­placed long­time Shkre­li as­so­ciate Ron Tilles, who was left in charge af­ter Shkre­li re­signed short­ly af­ter his ar­rest. That switchup re­cent­ly trig­gered a fight over the board seats and con­trol of Tur­ing, start­ing a fight that has yet to be re­solved.

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