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'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Steps Down as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Steps Down as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals
Image credit: Martin Shkreli | Twitter
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Martin Shkreli, the poster boy for prescription drug price increases who was arrested on securities fraud charges this week, has stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals Inc, the company said on Friday.

Shkreli was replaced by Turing Chairman Ron Tilles, who said in a statement that the company was committed to continuing to make its flagship drug, Daraprim, which is used to treat an infection called toxoplasmosis in AIDS patients.

Shkreli has become a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices after the company acquired Daraprim and raised its price to $750 a tablet from $13.50.

Turing is the only manufacturer of Daraprim.

Shkreli has been under investigation for securities fraud related to hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc (RTRX.O). He was charged in Brooklyn, NY, on Thursday in a federal indictment.

In October 2014, Shkreli was ousted from Retrophin, which he had founded. The drugmaker sued him for $65 million, saying he had breached his duty to the company.

In recent months, Shkreli has made controversial remarks in the press about raising drug prices and taunted detractors, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, on social-media outlets.

Shkreli is also CEO of drugmaker KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (KBIO.O). KaloBios, which had planned to shut down operations, named him to that post on Nov. 20 after he and a consortium of investors bought about 70 percent of its outstanding shares.

Nasdaq has placed KaloBios' stock on a trading halt until the company provides more information.

On Thursday night, Shkreli, who was released on a $5 million bond earlier in the day, tweeted "Glad to be home. Thanks for the support."

(Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lisa Von Ahn)

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