KaloBios cuts ties with former CEO Martin Shkreli, outlines ‘maniacal’ turnaround plan
Two months after small drugmaker KaloBios returns from bankruptcy, controversial industry figure Martin Shkreli is no longer a stakeholder in the company following his sale of all his remaining shares. He made a number of private transactions selling his two million shares for a value of $5.9 million, according to a regulatory filing he made on Monday.
This follows an agreement made in July by the company to limit Shkreli’s shareholder rights after a series of condemning events including his arrest on security fraud charges stemming from another of his associated companies, Retrophin, and his infamous 5000% price hike of anti-malarial drug Daraprim under another of his companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals.
The agreement also stipulated that Shkreli and his affiliates cannot have anything to do with the biotech for two years.
Shkreli came into the picture as a potential saviour for the company late last year as they faced liquidation by buying up a majority stake, but as a result of the later indictments on him, KaloBios suffered in its attempts to bounce back from bankruptcy.
KaloBios CEO Cameron Durrant is pleased that the company has managed to escape the shadow cast by Shkreli: “Any story about KaloBios kept getting tied back to Mr Shkreli and some of his alleged wrongdoings in other companies. This allows us to stand on our own two feet and talk about what we’re doing to develop our pipeline.”
Durrant has made it clear that the company is eschewing Shkreli’s turnaround plan in favour of targeting its resources in the name of “maniacally focusing on execution” of its pipeline. This includes the drug lenzilumab, a treatment for the rare cancer chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML), which is currently moving into the second phase of testing; the company is also exploring alternative applications of the drug, as Durrant notes it may eventually be able to be developed for “a whole raft of other indications that are congruent with our strategy of focusing on rare and neglected diseases.”
The firm’s turnaround plan also hinges on benznidazole, a treatment for the tropical disease chagas, which Durrant believes still has potential to be made available in more regions where it is urgently needed.
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