“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli has asked to be released from prison so he can work on finding a cure to the novel coronavirus.
Shkreli, a biotech entrepreneur serving seven years in prison for defrauding investors out of $10 million, asked to be temporarily released for three months in an 11-page scientific paper posted on his pharmaceutical company’s website.
He said a three-month furlough would allow him to help develop a cure for COVID-19, which has killed thousands of people across the world.
“As a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur, having purchased multiple companies, invented multiple new drug candidates, filed numerous INDs and clinical trial applications, I am one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development from molecule creation and hypothesis generation, to preclinical assessments and clinical trial design/target engagement demonstration, and manufacturing/synthesis and global logistics and deployment of medicines,” the statement said.
Shkreli, who gained notoriety after increasing the price of the life-saving antiparasitic drug Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet overnight, said in his letter that the “industry response to COVID-19 is inadequate.”
“All biopharmaceutical companies should be responding with all resources to combat this health emergency,” he added.
Shkreli is being held at a federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, and his release it scheduled for 2023, according to the New York Post.
He called himself a “citizen scientist” in his newly published scientific paper, saying he would not expect to profit “in any way, shape, or form” from coronavirus treatments.
The paper was coauthored by Maureen Lohry and James Rondina, who also labeled themselves as “citizen scientists,” as well as Kevin Mulleady, who prosecutors said was a coconspirator in Shkreli’s case, the New York Post reported.
Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told Newsweek that he planned to formally request a furlough soon.
“Mr. Shkreli has prepared a coronavirus research proposal, which, if accurate could help scientists and doctors better understand how to deal with the coronavirus that is killing so many people,” he said. “We will be requesting a three-month furlough so that he could do his research in a laboratory under strict supervision.”