Shkreli, 39, who was released from prison in May after serving just over four years for securities fraud, announced in a press release Monday a new venture called “Druglike”—a decentralized computing network for early-stage drug discovery projects that Shkreli claimed would “disrupt the economics of the drug business.”
In a press release, Shkreli said the company would “remove barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation and allow a broader group of contributors to share the rewards.”
“Underserved and underfunded communities, such as those focused on rare diseases or in developing markets, will also benefit from access to these tools,” added the former drug exec, who is best known for inflating the price of a life-saving medication by 5,000 percent.
Shkreli was banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life in January, after a federal court found him guilty of monopolistic behavior in hiking the price of the drug, Daraprim. He was also ordered to hand over $64.6 million of the profits he made in selling it.
At the time, New York Attorney General Leticia James—one of several attorneys general who joined the case—commented: “Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more.”
Shkreli is currently appealing the court ruling, and told the Daily Mail he is hoping to earn back his right to work in the pharmaceutical industry. But he also described Druglike as his opportunity to get “revenge” on the industry, by putting the pricey software used by drug companies on the web for widespread use. “It’d be fascinating if like, the next big medicine came out because like 20,000 computers of volunteers made it instead of like, Merck,” he told the Mail.
A disclaimer at the bottom of the press release notes that Druglike is a “blockchain/Web3 software company and not a pharmaceutical company,” and is “not engaged in pharmaceutical research or drug development.”
Shkreli had seemed to turn the corner from pharma bro to crypto bro since his release, bragging on Twitter about how he’d used a cryptocurrency exchange while behind bars and claiming that crypto entities would eventually become “bigger than the banking behemoths.”
Monday’s press release touts Druglike as a “Web3 platform,” featuring a “novel blockchain consensus mechanism” that it claims can solve computational chemistry problems at a competitive price. The project even comes with its own 24-page whitepaper—a feature of many crypto product launches.
Shkreli was convicted in 2017 of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in connection with two hedge funds he founded. According to the SEC, he lied to investors about the size and performance of one of the funds, and used money from his pharmaceutical company to pay off angry investors. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2018 and released on May 19 of this year. He is living in a halfway house, under Federal Bureau of Prisons oversight, until Sept. 14.