Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund and pharmaceutical executive who is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence for securities fraud, is seeking a three-month reprieve from prison, claiming that he can help find a cure for the Wuhan coronavirus.
“Pharma bro” Shkreli, 37, requested the furlough in a recently published scientific paper — co-authored with a group of associates — in which he argues that his experience in the pharmaceutical industry qualifies him to search for treatments for the Chinese virus.
“I am one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development,” Shkreli wrote in the 11-page paper, which is posted online. “The industry response to COVID-19 is inadequate. All biopharmaceutical companies should be responding with all resources to combat this health emergency.”
Shkreli said he doesn’t expect to profit from or receive compensation for his work. “Being released to the post-COVID world is no solace to even the incarcerated,” he wrote.
The paper was posted on the website of Prospero Pharmaceuticals, which describes itself as a biotech company focusing on treatments for rare or ignored diseases.
Shkreli is currently incarcerated at a federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, with a scheduled release in September 2023.
The New York Post reported that Shkreli has yet to formally request a furlough, but his defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said he would submit papers “shortly” to both the Bureau of Prisons and Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who oversaw his case.
Shkreli was convicted in August 2017 for defrauding investors out of more than $11 million. The former executive was also pilloried for acquiring the rights to the HIV drug Daraprim and then jacking up the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet.