The infamous “Pharma Bro” returns- testing the boundaries of his parole
Martin Shkreli was sentenced to 7 years of jail time for two counts of securities fraud and was ordered to forfeit $7.3 million. He was found guilty for lying to investors about the two hedge funds , defrauding his investors, and skimming money.
The “Pharma Bro” as people named him was most famous for buying the rights to an anti-parasitic drug used to treat infections that occur in patients with AIDS, malaria or some cancers named Daraprim. The drug was originally an already high $13.50 per pill with Shkreli raising the price to an exorbitant $750 per pill. Shkreli defended the price change blaming capitalism and stating that insurance companies could pay the price. Earlier this year Shkreli was ordered by a judge to return profits made by his ex-company Vyera at the amount of $64.6M and he was barred from the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of his life.
His current project takes aim at the barring and could put him in hot water. Shkreli recently announced that he is creating a blockchain -based “Web3 drug discovery platform” that will make use of his own cryptocurrency titled MSI or Martin Shkreli In.
The platform is going by the name of Druglike which was announced in a press release. The goals of the platform are very lofty but details have been a bit sketchy at best. The details also do not specifically address whether this venture will go against his lifetime ban or not.
In early-stage drug development virtual screens are used to identify potential drug candidates. The scientists involved identify a “target” which is a compound or specific protein that creates the disease or condition. The researchers then look for compounds or molecules that could disrupt the protein by binding or “docking” directly onto the target an stop it from properly functioning. Usually this is done in a physical lab using giant libraries of compounds and high-throughput screens. There are time this process can be done virtually as well.
Druglike is suited for this virtual process and in the whitepaper for the project on the Druglike website, some concepts for the platform and its processes were made clear. A decentralized computer network of task providers, solvers, and validations would run and optimize the virtual screening process.
The company proposes a blockchain -based implementation of Proof-of-Optimization , where a ledger that is distributed would tore teh records of which proof of the solutions would belong to solvers. The smart contract would award secure distribution to the solver who owns the verified pool.
If the process sounds confusing you are not alone as many don’t understand what the platform really does and the details are not as detailed as one would like as most don’t understand how the transactions would even create value, there is no description on how the project will be funded either.
Twitter has banned Shkreli but he still has an account by the name of Enrique Hernandez where he announced the company. He laughed at the notion of this new project going against his ban stating that “Writing some code in GitHub and pressing “go” does not make you a pharmaceutical company