Martin Shkreli [via Getty]

Supreme Court turns down Mar­tin Shkre­li's lat­est ap­peal, leav­ing 'phar­ma bro' to 7-year sen­tence

Mar­tin Shkre­li will con­tin­ue to serve out his sen­tence af­ter the lat­est ap­peal to over­turn his con­vic­tion was re­ject­ed by the Supreme Court.

Bet­ter known out­side biotech cir­cles as “phar­ma bro,” Shkre­li was sen­tenced to sev­en years in fed­er­al prison on three felony fraud con­vic­tions re­lat­ing to two hedge funds and one biotech, Retrophin, he found­ed. The Supreme Court jus­tices re­fused to hear his ap­peal, which would have al­so in­volved a $7.36 mil­lion for­fei­ture.

“It was a long shot,” Shkre­li’s new lawyer Mark Bak­er told Reuters. “We’re dis­ap­point­ed, but will move on.”

De­spite be­ing locked up, Shkre­li has man­aged to stay in the pub­lic eye by blog­ging and lat­er al­leged­ly run­ning Phoenixus (a re­born Tur­ing Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals) re­mote­ly us­ing a con­tra­band cell phone. The scheme, de­tailed in a Wall Street Jour­nal ex­posé, was de­signed to ramp up the com­pa­ny’s val­ue to $3.7 bil­lion by the time he is freed in 2023. Hav­ing read up on the lat­est phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal re­search, he had his eyes set on more rare dis­ease drugs and an am­bi­tious R&D agen­da.

Tur­ing was where Shkre­li first got in­fa­mous. Af­ter ac­quir­ing an HIV drug, the com­pa­ny raised the cost more than 50-fold from $13.5 to $750 per pill.

Con­tro­ver­sial as it was, all of that was and re­mains com­plete­ly le­gal. Shkre­li’s crimes had to do with cheat­ing in­vestors — some­thing that he dis­put­ed as some of them re­ceived prof­its. In the lat­est ap­peal, Shkre­li al­so ar­gued that the ju­ry in­struc­tions about the harm done to them un­der­mined his de­fense that he had act­ed in good faith.

In Ju­ly, three judges in an ap­peals court re­ject­ed those claims and up­held both the sen­tence and the for­fei­ture.

Shkre­li is cur­rent­ly im­pris­oned in Al­len­wood, Penn­syl­va­nia, where he trans­ferred from Fort Dix af­ter of­fi­cials launched a probe in­to his busi­ness deal­ings be­hind bars.

Tillman Gerngross, Adagio Therapeutics CEO

An­ti­body leg­end Till­man Gern­gross is el­bow­ing his way in­to the Covid-19 R&D cru­sade: 'I don’t see this end­ing any­time soon'

One of the most influential — and outspoken — scientists at work in the field of antibody discovery is jumping into the frenzied race to create new therapeutics to treat and prevent Covid-19. And he’s operating with the conviction that the current outbreak now once again spreading like wildfire will create plenty of demand for what he has in mind.

Dartmouth professor and Adimab CEO Tillman Gerngross tells me he’s raised $50 million from a group of close VCs to spin out a new company — Adagio Therapeutics — with a full C-suite team assembled to hire up a staff and keep rolling toward the clinic.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (Moderna via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: NI­AID and Mod­er­na spell out a 'ro­bust' im­mune re­sponse in PhI coro­n­avirus vac­cine test — but big ques­tions re­main to be an­swered

The NIAID and Moderna have spelled out positive Phase I safety and efficacy data for their Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 — highlighting the first full, clear sketch of evidence that back-to-back jabs at the dose selected for Phase III routinely produced a swarm of antibodies to the virus that exceeded levels seen in convalescent patients — typically in multiples indicating a protective response.

Moderna execs say plainly that this first stage of research produced exactly the kind of efficacy they hoped to see in humans, with a manageable safety profile.

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Trans­port Sim­u­la­tion Test­ing for Your Ther­a­py is the Best Way to As­sure FDA Ex­pe­dit­ed Pro­gram Ap­proval

Modality Solutions is an ISO:9001-registered biopharmaceutical cold chain engineering firm with unique transport simulation capabilities that support accelerated regulatory approval for biologics and advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMP). Our expertise combines traditional validation engineering approaches with regulatory knowledge into a methodology tailored for the life sciences industry. We provide insight and execution for the challenges faced in your cold chain logistics network.

GSK’s Shin­grix leader Guil­laume Pfe­fer has jumped on board Flag­ship to helm a biotech hy­brid as Afeyan’s lat­est CEO-part­ner

After spending 4 years in a senior post with GlaxoSmithKline’s star team positioning Shingrix for a blockbuster approval, Guillaume Pfefer is headed back to the biotech world — in style.

Pfefer has signed on to join Noubar Afeyan’s busy group of partners at Flagship, and he’s taking the helm of an upstart — which today is being merged with another Flagship startup — with some grand plans of its own. The announcement this morning notes that Pfefer will run Kintai Therapeutics, one of the grads of the Flagship labs.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D and lead­ing the fight against Covid-19? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' spe­cial re­port

One of the many inequalities the pandemic has laid bare is the gender imbalance in biomedical research. A paper examining Covid-19 research authorship wondered out loud: Where are the women?

It’s a question that echoes beyond our current times. In the biopharma world, not only are women under-represented in R&D roles (particularly at higher levels), their achievements and talents could also be undermined by stereotypes and norms of leadership styles. The problem is even more dire for women of color.

Mer­ck KGaA takes its I/O op­tion on F-star Ther­a­peu­tics; Nephron spends $215M, eye­ing spot in Covid-19 vac­cine chain

→Merck KGaA has taken an early option on an immuno-oncology program developed at F-star Therapeutics. This is their second option in the collaboration. And they added a pair of preclinical discovery programs to the alliance as well.

Any biotech going public these days wouldn’t feel right if they didn’t upsize the offering. And that’s just what Phase I biotech Pandion Therapeutics did. The autoimmune company is now selling 7 million shares, a 1.5 million share bump, for $16 to $18 a share.

Full Bril­in­ta study re­sults show the blood thin­ner re­duces rate of sec­ondary stroke

AstraZeneca once projected its Brilinta drug to peak at $3.5 billion in sales, and though the blood thinner never reached that lofty goal, it received the latest positive signs in a string of recent good news.

The pharma released full details from its THALES study Thursday morning, which measured the effects of Brilinta and aspirin against aspirin alone in treating patients who had an acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. When taken twice daily with once-a-day aspirin for 30 days, the Brilinta combo reduced the risk of stroke and death by 17 percent, meeting the primary endpoint of the study.

Norbert Bischofberger, Kronos CEO

Gilead­'s ex-R&D chief Bischof­berg­er heads back to the biotech gi­ant to pick up a pair of late-stage drugs that had been put aside

Norbert Bischofberger knows entospletinib well.

Back during his long, blockbuster run as head of R&D at Gilead, researchers had once held some high hopes for this drug. But to make it work, he and the team felt it would need a new companion diagnostic to identify patients. There was talk of a combo approach to give it more punch. But the market was small, making them wonder if it would be worth going through a lengthy development cycle to get it through a pivotal.

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Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci (AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: Rus­sia hack­ers tar­get US, UK vac­cine and drug re­searchers; Fau­ci fires back at White House cam­paign to un­der­mine him

Russia has tried to steal a Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutics researcher from pharmaceutical and academic institutions in the US, UK and Canada, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said Thursday.

The NCSC said that hacking attempts came from a group known as APT129, also known as “Cozy Bear,” that “almost certainly operate as part of Russian intelligence services.” The Canadian Communication Security Establishment, US Department for Homeland Security, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, and the National Security Agency shared the assessment, the NCSC said.

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