Exclusive: Why Martin Shkreli Feels He Has Been Vindicated
After his former company Retrophin Inc (NASDAQ: RTRX) released positive top-line data from the Phase 2 DUET study of sparsentan, Martin Shkreli offered an olive branch to media companies wishing to speak to him on the drug he helped develop.
With that, Benzinga reached out to Shkreli and discussed the business implications of sparsentan, which is used to treat focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare kidney disease that often leads to end-stage renal disease.
Describing the trouble of getting sparsentan to its current position, Shkreli lamented on the ability to raise money.
Shkreli began with receiving a $4 million series A funding round, followed by a pipe deal with Roth Capital Partners valued at $10 million that was raised at a deep discount and had warrants attached. From here, Shkreli was able to acquire the rights to Thiola and Chenodal, and subsequently raise the price of each drug. Thiola was marked up nearly 20 times its original price, while Chenodal was raised around five times its beginning price.
"When biotechs are out of favor," Shkreli said when speaking on the Roth Capital pipe, "it's very difficult for them to access the public markets for capital."
Shkreli feels that sparsentan's success thus far vindicates him of his current price gouging criticism, as the company has spent more than $20 million to date on R&D to address those suffering from FSGS.
Transitioning to the commercial implications, Shkreli noted there is a patient pool of 40,000. Of this population, he believes Retrophin can address anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 patients. He does note that similar drugs on the market, such as Tracleer and Letairis, charge upward of $50,000 per patient.
Based off pricing similar to competitors, Shkreli believes U.S. potential could be in the $250 million to $300 million dollar range, with potential for $100 million to $200 million in Europe. He believes there is further potential for sparsentan beyond FSGS, with potentially four to five additional kidney related applications possible.
Despite this praise, Shkreli believes Retrophin still owes him $25 million as part of his termination. He believes he was let go outside the rules of his contract.
The stock traded recently at $20.86, up 27 percent on the day.
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