Freed 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli plots return to 'disrupt' the drug industry
"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli (Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Martin Shkreli, the drug executive infamously nicknamed "Pharma Bro," is planning a new tech venture to "disrupt" the medical industry — barely two months after having been released from prison.

"Shkreli, 39 ... announced in a press release Monday a new venture called 'Druglike' — a decentralized computing network for early-stage drug discovery projects that Shkreli claimed would 'disrupt the economics of the drug business,'" reported Emily Shugerman. "In a press release, Shkreli said the company would 'remove barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation and allow a broader group of contributors to share the rewards.'"

Shkreli is most infamous for hiking the price of the drug Daraprim by 5000 percent — potentially depriving people of treatment for life-threatening toxoplasmosis infections. After attracting nationwide outrage for the move, he was charged and convicted in a separate securities fraud case, for which he spent four years in prison.

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A separate federal court ruling earlier this year banned Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life over the Daraprim price hikes, which was ruled to be illegal anticompetitive practices.

"Shkreli is currently appealing the court ruling, and told the Daily Mail he is hoping to earn back his right to work in the pharmaceutical industry," continued the report. "But he also described Druglike as his opportunity to get 'revenge' on the industry, by putting the pricey software used by drug companies on the web for widespread use. 'It’d be fascinating if like, the next big medicine came out because like 20,000 computers of volunteers made it instead of like, Merck,' he told the Mail."

"Shkreli had seemed to turn the corner from pharma bro to crypto bro since his release, bragging on Twitter about how he’d used a cryptocurrency exchange while behind bars and claiming that crypto entities would eventually become 'bigger than the banking behemoths,'" the report continued. "Monday’s press release touts Druglike as a 'Web3 platform,' featuring a 'novel blockchain consensus mechanism' that it claims can solve computational chemistry problems at a competitive price. The project even comes with its own 24-page whitepaper — a feature of many crypto product launches."