Martin Shkreli's not mad teens made his drug for about $2 a dose, you are
Remember Martin Shkreli? Pharma troll and fan of both Donald Trump and the Wu-Tang Clan?
He just got schooled by a bunch of teens, but he's not mad about it. Not at all. You are.
Shkreli became notorious in 2015 after he acquired the rights to Daraprim, a treatment for a parasitic infection that affects people with low immune symptoms like pregnant women and HIV sufferers. His troll achievement was unlocked when he raised the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill to huge public outcry.
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Things have not slowed down for our man Shkreli since. His company Kalobios filed for bankruptcy, he spent $2 million on the world's only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album, and most recently, he hosted a Brooklyn happy hour after an appearance in court for securities fraud charges.
Under the guidance of Sydney University chemist Alice Williamson, the Sydney Grammar School students used 17 grams of relatively cheap 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile to produce 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine, otherwise known as Daraprim.
"That's about $US110,000 worth of the drug," Williamson told the publication, taking into account Shkreli's price gouging.
Ever a keyboard warrior, Shkreli tweeted Thursday that he was not impressed. "Yea uh anyone can make any drug it is pretty ez," he wrote.
The school project was part of the University of Sydney's Open Source Malaria Consortium, which is looking for a cure to malaria though free sharing of scientific data.
Unfortunately, the students won't be able to help customers in the U.S., despite their good intentions. The drug sells for A$1 to A$2 per pill in Australia, the ABC reported.
Matthew Todd, who also works with the Consortium, told Fairfax Media that Turing Pharmaceuticals controls its "distribution and sale" thanks to a legal loophole.
"To take the drug to market as a generic, you need to compare it to Turing's product. If Turing won't allow the comparisons to take place, you'd need to fund a whole new trial."
In the meantime, Williamson will continue harnessing the power of high school chemistry enthusiasts, encouraging them to start "breaking good," unlike Mr. Shkreli.
"Open source drug discovery provide a unique opportunity for undergraduates and high school students to be engaged in a real research project," she said at a recent TEDx event in Sydney.
"If we could get into this untapped resource and mobile the Walter Whites ... think of what we could achieve."