View Full Version : Beached Pharma Bro

Arizona Bay
11-30-2016, 03:12 PM
Sydney School Boys Take Down Martin Shkreli, "the most hated man in the world"

Martin Shkreli was the ''big pharma bro" who outraged the world by hiking the price of an essential drug from $US13.50 ($18) to $US750 a tablet.
Now a handful of year 11 students in Sydney have shown him up, cooking the same drug in their school lab for about $2 a dose.


Previous slideNext slide
http://www.theage.com.au/content/dam/images/4/n/t/x/k/image.related.videoThumbnail.190x107.4ntxj.png/1480503184447.jpgStudents make anti-malarial drug for cheap


Students make anti-malarial drug for cheap

A handful of year 11 students in Sydney synthesise an expensive anti-malarial drug for about $2 a dose.

Daraprim is an anti-parasitic medicine used to treat infections such as toxoplasmosis and malaria. It is on the World Health Organisation's list of essential medicines (http://www.who.int/medicines/publications/essentialmedicines/en/).

The drug is used to treat people with low immune systems, such as people living with HIV, chemotherapy patients and pregnant women.
http://www.theage.com.au/content/dam/images/g/s/z/n/3/f/image.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.gsxcu5.png/1480518425286.jpgDylan Siow-Lee holding about $150,000 worth of Daraprim if sold in the US market. Photo: Nic Walker

In September last year hedge-fund manager Shkreli gained control of Turing Pharmaceuticals and attracted worldwide opprobrium by increasing the price of the drug more than 5000 per cent.
He went on to spend $US2 million on the only available copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album (http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/music/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli-owns-the-only-copy-of-a-special-wu-tang-clan-album-hasnt-listened-to-it-20151209-gljupb.html).
He was called (http://www.theage.com.au/world/worlds-most-hated-man-martin-shkreli-faces-critics-over-drug-price-rise-20151026-gkik0z.html) "a morally bankrupt sociopath", a "scumbag" and "everything that is wrong with capitalism".
Hillary Clinton accused him of price gouging and The Atlantic described (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/12/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli/421083/) him as "the face of unapologetic profiteering from the suffering of humans".

"Working on a real-world problem definitely made us more enthusiastic," said another of the Sydney Grammar boys, Austin Zhang, 17.
This is the second year that the University of Sydney's Open Source Malaria Consortium (http://opensourcemalaria.org/) has done outreach work with Sydney Grammar. The consortium's guiding principle is to use publicly available drugs and medical approaches to cure malaria.
The work of Dr Williamson and consortium founder Associate Professor Matthew Todd (http://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__sydney.edu.au_science_people_matthew.todd.php&d=DgMFaQ&c=N9aEhCy8U0rJkO1xCZf7rgM9fohfR5qe_N93viZd7O8&r=8e1rt2hxY1QUHCPLS6X8RlV3S41S4LuSf1iORA1e-Rw&m=nbUN35j9YnucEiJz7eZ7yMN0_tHtZ_c639CW41rQLJU&s=CVZ9CPbuPVsJ0rm6wg5s_TN5L0T7xY2rg1P7R7gMMjo&e=) has been praised by Bill Gates, whose foundation is looking for a cure to malaria.

"This has been a great pilot program. The next challenge is to work with kids from all sorts of schools," Dr Williamson said.

She said this can happen one of two ways: "We can take students to labs or labs to students.
"Not all schools have the lab facilities that Sydney Grammar has," she said.
The consortium is looking to raise money to fit-out an RV [recreational vehicle] as a lab to take out to schools.

Given the public scandal from September last year, the boys definitely "shared the outrage of the general public", Dr Williamson said. And this gave more of a focus to the work.
The students started with 17 grams of the raw material 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile, also called (4-chlorophenyl)acetonitrile. You can buy it online at $36.50 for 100 grams (http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/product/aldrich/c28006?lang=en&region=AU).

http://www.smh.com.au/content/dam/images/g/t/0/s/j/x/image.imgtype.articleLeadwide.620x349.png/1480476299553.pngThe raw material 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile (left) can be synthesised into pyrimethamine (Daraprim). The sample on the right was made by Sydney Grammar students and is the equivalent of $150,000 worth at US prices. Photo: University of Sydney

To make the Daraprim, the boys worked through a number of steps with their chemistry teacher, Dr Malcolm Binns.

"We couldn't use the patented route as it involved dangerous reagents," he said.
Dr Williamson, DrBinns and the boys had to find an innovative pathway from the starting compound to the end result.

They synthesised the end-product last week. Dr Williamson tested its purity in a spectrograph at university.

"It's one of the most beautiful spectrographs I've ever seen, actually," she said.
From the 17 grams starting material, the boys produced 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine, the chemical name of Daraprim.

"That's about $US110,000 worth of the drug," Dr Williams said, based on the price mark-up of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

But could they sell it on the open market in the US?

"While the drug is out of patent, Turing Pharmaceuticals controls its distribution and sale through a loophole called the 'closed distribution model'," said Associate Professor Todd.

"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," he said.

The drug, however, is available in Australia for a reasonable price. Fifty tablets of a 25 milligram dose will cost $12.99.

On Wednesday the boys presented their results at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute NSW Organic Chemistry symposium (https://www.raci.org.au/events/event/nsw-organic-one-day-symposium-2016). They did so alongside honours and postgraduate students, and postdoctorals.

Norman Bernstein
11-30-2016, 03:15 PM
What a GREAT story!

+1000 Y>

Norman Bernstein
11-30-2016, 03:21 PM
One has to wonder WHY anti-trust legislation doesn't stop this practice, IMMEDIATELY:

Before a generic competitor drug can be marketed, the would-be competitor must perform FDA-required bioequivalence studies, showing that its product is comparable to the currently approved drug. These studies require a substantial supply of the currently approved drug–which, in the case of Daraprim, would have to be obtained from Turing.

The issue of whether Turing’s closed distribution system for Daraprim violates antitrust law (by thwarting competition in the marketplace) is currently being investigated by the New York Attorney General (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/new-york-attorney-general-examining-if-turing-restricted-drug-access.html), as well as the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/ftc-mounts-antitrust-probe-shkreli-s-ex-firm-turing-lawyer-n502241). A recently available academic article (http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=6750841190210010140990271141170661 22024006056079005030120082089022112110009099064123 12406012110603300710902700311210601606711810700609 00230020970291220961001020110400430800691090960870 23121094125093119007119031010003100006066027091084 098073006110021&EXT=pdf), to be published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, thoughtfully examines this very antitrust issue–including a discussion of the Celgene/Lannett case mentioned in the Retrophin presentation, along with two other germane cases. The authors note that, because these 3 cases settled, “no final decisions on these issues were rendered. But the cases chart a potential path to liability for a brand manufacturer’s refusal to provide samples to generic rivals.” The authors also concluded, “Turing’s behavior warrants close antitrust scrutiny.”* Shkreli furthermore justified the closed distribution of Daraprim by saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that many expensive drugs are dispensed via closed distribution. How’s that for circular logic?

Phil Y
11-30-2016, 03:35 PM

11-30-2016, 05:29 PM
Fantastic! Good for them.

11-30-2016, 09:45 PM
One has to wonder WHY anti-trust legislation doesn't stop this practice, IMMEDIATELY:

Because Fascism...