Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Ethics, Infectious diseases, Pharma

Kalobios CEO: Martin Shkreli Played Fast and Loose With Early Savant Deal for Benznidazole

Kalobios CEO: Martin Shkreli Played Fast and Loose With Early Savant Deal for Benznidazole

Here is a recent BioFlash podcast, in which Kalobios (KBIO) CEO Cameron Durrant provided an update on the development plans for benznidazole and had some interesting things to say about the company’s former CEO and persistent Twitter troll, Martin Shkreli.

Regarding business development at Kalobios:

  • Durrant said the company is actively looking at “numerous” deals, in which it might acquire an already-marketed drug or one close to market. In either case, if/when a deal happens, Durrant pledged “responsible pricing.”
  • Durrant was reluctant to give a time frame for the benznidazole NDA (from >1 to <10 years!); but other drugs that have been approved through the 505(b)(2) pathway should provide a guide, he said.

Durrant also had a few interesting asides to offer on Shkreli and his early deal with Savant for the rights to benznidazole.*

  • Durrant clearly emphasized that Shkreli put together a NON-BINDING letter of intent (LOI) with Savant. This statement is in complete contradistinction to Shkreli’s message to shareholders and would-be shareholders in December 2015, which implied that the deal with Savant had been sealed (see, for example, the Kalobios press release of December 3, 2015,* and Shkreli’s shareholder presentation of December 2015 (slide 6—ie, “Kalobios has entered into an agreement with [Savant] to acquire the worldwide rights to Savant’s benznidazole program”).
  • Durrant further argued that Shkreli’s public proposal to raise benznidazole’s price to Harvoni-like levels (see slide 15 of Shkreli’s shareholder presentation) probably “contravened the confidentiality agreement” of the non-binding LOI with Savant.
  • Durrant further called Shkreli’s “rationale” for raising the price of benznidazole “completely flawed.” Conversely, Durrant described Kalobios’s plan for “transparent” drug pricing (of benznidazole, for example) as “180 degrees” from Shkreli’s typical MO.

In short, Durrant—in his inimitably English way—appeared to be NOT a fan of Martin Shkreli.

* For another, interesting angle on the early benznidazole deal between Kalobios and Savant, see this recent interview with Savant’s CEO, Stephen Hurst.
** To wit: “KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: KBIO), today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a benznidazole program for the treatment of Chagas Disease from Savant Neglected Diseases, LLC, a privately-held specialty pharmaceutical company” [emphasis added].
bmartin (1082 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.