NEW YORK–The controversial U.S. pharma boss and hedge fund figure Martin Shkreli has been fired as CEO of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals following his arrest on fraud charges, the firm said Monday. The news came on the heels of Shkreli’s resignation Friday as boss of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the day after his indictment over allegations of a Ponzi scheme-like fraud conspiracy. Shkreli was “terminated as chief executive officer of the company and resigned from his position as a member of the board of directors” on Dec. 17, the day of his arrest, KaloBios said in a securities filing. U.S. Justice Department officials suspect the 32-year-old of mounting a brazen fraud between 2009 and 2014 at two hedge funds and another firm, prior to his career at either pharmaceutical company. He is accused of lying to investors, moving money between investments to cover losses in other vehicles and siphoning off cash for personal expenses. Shkreli, founder and CEO of Turing, rose to infamy earlier this year after he bought rights to toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim and promptly raised the price from US$13.50 a tablet to US$750. His tenure at KaloBios was particularly brief, as he had taken over as chief executive only on Nov. 19.
In a Wall Street Journal interview, he said U.S. authorities had been keen to arrest him. “What do you do when you have the attention of millions of people? It seemed to me like it would be fun to experiment with,” he said in reference to his posts on Twitter.
“What would it look like if I said something audacious or outrageous, even if I don’t mean it literally, it’d be interesting to see how people would react. “In retrospect, again, to be arrested over something that I don’t think I should have been arrested over — I did nothing wrong — because of a social experiment and teasing people over the Internet, that seems like a real injustice,” he stressed. Shares of KaloBios have been suspended since Thursday, after falling more than 50 percent in pre-market trade on news of Shkreli’s arrest that day.