Martin Shkreli reportedly running his pharma company from prison

Alia Paavola - Print  | 

Even prison bars can't stop the infamous "pharma bro."

Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharmaceutical exec who gained notoriety for inflating the price of a lifesaving anti-infection drug, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for defrauding investors. However, even from behind bars, he continues to call the shots at Phoenixus AG, the rebranded name of his pharmaceutical company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Shkreli recently called his handpicked chief executive, Kevin Mulleady, from a contraband smartphone to fire him, the WSJ reports. Mr. Mulleady had recently requested a seven-figure pay increase, which upset Mr. Shkreli, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Shkreli later agreed to suspend the CEO rather than fire him.

While incarcerated, Mr. Shkreli has worked to control the company in other ways as well. He allegedly phones in advice to company officials when he can and also tried to buy shares from existing shareholders late last year.

Mr. Shkreli reportedly spends much of his free time in prison researching diseases, the prevention of illnesses and new drugs. According to the report, he is plotting to acquire more rare disease drugs and invest in research and development projects. He estimates that when he is out of prison in 2023, Phoenixus could be worth $3.7 billion.

Controlling a business from prison is illegal. The prison inmate handbook says: "Conducting a business, in any way, is a prohibited act."

A spokesperson also told the WSJ that the Bureau of Prisons "continues to tackle the problem of contraband being introduced into our facilities, including contraband cellphones."

The FBI is reportedly investigating Mr. Shkreli's business contributions from prison.

Read the full report here.

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