Activist company

Martin Shkreli’s former pharmaceutical company faces shareholder battle

“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli has just been released from prison, but the battle over his scandal-torn company still rages on.

Last June, a group of activist investors seeking to take control of pharmaceutical company Turing failed Shkreli – the 39-year-old fraudster voting his shares from prison.

Since then, Turing has continued to bleed money and now looks set to go under, according to activist investor Jason Aryeh and Ron Tilles, Turing’s former chairman and interim CEO, who together seek to shake up the company’s board. directors of the company at a meeting of shareholders on Friday.

“They’re left with just $23 million in cash, down from $50 million last quarter — no idea what they’re doing,” Aryeh told the Post. “They burned $27 million – where did they go?”

Nonetheless, Aryeh and Tilles admit their proxy battle is still far from a safe bet. Turing’s parent company Phoenixus, now renamed Vyera, told activist investors that Shkreli could no longer vote for his shares because he had been banned from the industry by the federal government. But the current directors could still issue themselves new shares and win the battle, according to Aryeh.

Shkreli was released early from prison.
Getty Images

Shkreli previously owned 44% of the company. Activist investors say they are unsure what percentage of shares board members currently own. Aryeh adds that the board still seems full of Shkreli’s buddies who can do whatever he wants.

“It all comes down to a handful of institutional shareholders,” Aryeh told the Post. “They must dismiss Martin’s cronies, and thus end his embarrassing and massively exaggerated influence on the perception of the life-saving pharmaceutical industry.”

Vyera officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shkreli shot to fame after raising the price of life-saving AIDS treatment Daraprim to $750 a pill from $17.50 after securing exclusive rights to it in 2015.

In December, the Federal Trade Commission accused Shkreli in court of using anti-competitive tactics to drive up the price of Daraprim. The federal government won, and as a result, Shkreli was banned from the pharmaceutical industry in the United States.

Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison.

However, the parent company is based in Switzerland – and therefore falls under Swiss rules and is not subject to the FTC ban.

“The plan is to remove Martin from the business, restore Daraprim’s price to pre-Shkreli levels, and do what’s right first with patients, doctors and then shareholders,” Aryeh said.

Shkreli was released early from prison after being sentenced to seven years until 2023 for securities fraud he committed while running two hedge funds.

After being released from prison in May, Shrkeli was transferred to a so-called halfway house where he is expected to be released on September 14.

Upon his release, Shkreli joked on Facebook that “getting out of real jail is easier than getting out of Twitter jail.” Shkreli was banned from Twitter in 2017 for “targeted harassment” of a journalist.