- Martin Shkreli has launched a drug-discovery company called Druglike which is centered on free blockchain-based software.
- Shkreli was barred from the pharmaceutical industry after his 2017 conviction for securities fraud.
- He said the new Web3 company he’s co-founded isn’t a drug company and that its aim is to eventually lower drug prices.
“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is barred from working in the pharmaceutical drug industry. But in his post-prison life, he’s turning to blockchain technology in an effort to cut down drug prices.
The former phamaceutrical company executive, who in 2017 was found guilty of securities fraud, on Monday launched Druglike, billed as a Web3 drug-discovery company centered on free software to design and model chemical compounds.
“It’s a niche product, for sure, but it could change the way medicine is being made,” Shrkeli told The Milk Road, a daily crypto newsletter for more than 150,000 readers, in an interview posted on YouTube on Monday. Shkreli, who co-founded Druglike, told The Milk Road that software licenses for traditional drug-design software can run from $50,000 to $100,000.
Shkreli was released from prison in May and sent to a halfway house after serving four and a half years out of a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud.
Druglike in a separate press release said in building a decentralized computing network that underserved and underfunded communities “such as those focused on rare diseases or in developing markets” will benefit from access to its tools.
Shkreli in 2015 set off a firestorm of criticism as the then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals after it raised the price of Daraprim, an anti-parasitic drug prescribed to patients with AIDS and cancer, by 5,000%. Shkreli faced a separate antitrust lawsuit for raising the price of Daraprim.
Shkreli said in the videotaped interview he’s “aghast” at the high price tag for drug-discovery software. “Total cost of the ownership of this stuff is millions of dollars. So the ability to … squeeze it down almost to zero is my dream.”
Druglike is “not a drug company. We don’t want to be a drug company. I can’t even be a drug company. We make a piece of software and you sort of design something that could be a medicine,” he told The Milk Road. “Once you’re done with that, you actually have to turn it from a simulation to a reality and that’s somebody else’s job.”
Shkreli is scheduled to be released from federal custody on September 14, according to the US Bureau of Prisons.