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"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli wants release from prison to help fight COVID-19

Martin Shkreli charged with price-fixing

Martin Shkreli, currently incarcerated for securities fraud, is asking to be released from prison so he can help the world fight the novel coronavirus.

The biotech entrepreneur who earned the nickname "Pharma Bro" after buying the rights to an existing drug and jacking up the price, has co-authored a paper from prison that examines the efficacy of existing drugs against the virus. 

In an author statement at the end of the research, Shkreli asked for a three month-furlough to assist with COVID-19 research, citing his credentials as a drug industry entrepreneur. 

"Medicinal chemists, structural biologists, enzymologists, and assay development and research biology departments at every pharmaceutical company should be put to work until COVID-19 is no more," Shkreli wrote.

"Being released to the post-COVID world is no solace to even the incarcerated. As a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur, having purchased multiple companies, invented multiple new drug candidates, filed numerous [Investigational New Drug] and clinical trial applications, I am one of the few executives experienced in all aspects of drug development..."

He notes that he doesn't expect to profit from any prospective coronavirus-related treatments. 

Prison officials investigating Martin Shkreli over contraband cellphone

Shkreli became the face of Wall Street and drug industry greed in 2015 when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a relatively low priced AIDS drug called Daraprim by more than 5,000%.

He is currently serving a seven-year sentence for securities fraud. The Federal Trade Commission charged Shkreli in January with trying to restrict competition to maintain a monopoly on a life-saving drug.

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