selfie of martin shkreli

zkEnrique7/Twitter

Martin Shkreli announces new crypto-backed, blockchain-based drug company, which definitely won’t be another Ponzi scheme

Surely it will be entirely on the level.

 

Jacob Seitz

Tech

Posted on Jul 25, 2022

Martin Shkreli is back.

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The infamous “pharma bro,” who was released from prison two months ago, announced the creation of Druglike, a “web3 drug discovery software platform” that seeks to “disrupt the economics of the drug business,” according to a press release.

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Whether it will actually go anywhere or is just another one of Shkreli’s stunts, is yet to be seen. But given how much of web3.0 appears to be money-making schemes that defraud investors, it is an auspicious industry for Shkreli to enter into.

Shkreli became notorious after he hiked the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000% overnight in 2015, earning the condemnation of both then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Shkreli, who was just released from a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud for his misdeeds around the healthcare market, is listed as the company’s co-founder. It is unclear whether this violates his lifetime ban from the drug industry he received earlier this year.

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According to the release, Druglike will use the blockchain to aid in drug discovery and development, creating a “decentralized computing network” to provide resources for people “looking to start or contribute to early-stage drug discovery projects.”

“For the first time, any computer or phone with access to the web might be responsible and rewarded for discovering the next breakthrough medicine,” Shkreli said in the announcement. “We will disrupt the economics of the drug business by allowing a wide pool of innovators and contributors, rather than only pharmaceutical giants, to profit from drug discovery.”

Druglike claims it will release a free-to-use, web-based software to allow people to design and test drugs, although it is unclear how exactly the software will work. The people working the software will be paid in $MSI, a Shkreli-based memecoin created during his incarceration that Shkreli now claims to own.

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Given the concerns around the internet about the applicable uses of web3, and the underlying belief that a great deal of blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are fraudulent Ponzi schemes, it’s no shock Shkreli would dive into the field.

Users on Twitter were mixed at the announcement.

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“It’s no big surprise that Shkreli has jumped into the crypto industry. Within hours of his release, he was tweeting, and soon began joining crypto Twitter Spaces where he spoke about using a contraband phone while in prison to access the Uniswap crypto exchange,” one user said in a thread.

“Very impressed with @zkEnrique7’s redemption arc to reduce drug development costs,” another user wrote. “Permissionless technology in Healthcare [will] unlock tremendous value especially for consumers.  Who needs memecoins when real transformative technology is in place. More to come!”

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Shkreli’s new, semi-anonymized Twitter account is @zkEnrique7. He was banned from the platform in 2017 for harassing freelance journalist Lauren Duca.

Shkreli was released from prison in May after serving time for defrauding investors and running a Ponzi scheme. After he was sentenced, he was banned for life from operating in a public company and banned from the pharmaceutical industry for his actions.


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*First Published: Jul 25, 2022, 4:22 pm CDT