Shkreli seeks prison release to conduct research for coronavirus cure

Shkreli seeks prison release to conduct research for coronavirus cure
© Greg Nash

Biotech entrepreneur Martin Shkreli called for his temporary release from prison on Tuesday in an 11-page scientific paper posted to a pharmaceutical company's website.

In the paper, Shkreli asks for a three-month furlough from his prison sentence in order to assist in the development of a cure for the coronavirus, a disease that has caused a global pandemic and has infected tens of thousands in the United States. 

"I am asking for a brief furlough (3 months) to assist in research work on COVID-19," Shkreli wrote.

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"Being released to the post-COVID world is no solace to even the incarcerated," he continued, adding: "As a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur, having purchased multiple companies, invented multiple new drug candidates, filed numerous INDs and clinical trial applications, I am one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development from molecule creation and hypothesis generation, to preclinical assessments and clinical trial design/target engagement demonstration, and manufacturing/synthesis and global logistics and deployment of medicines."

Shkreli is currently incarcerated at a federal prison in Pennsylvania, where he is completing a 7-year sentence after he was convicted of fraud in 2017. The pharmaceutical businessman became famous after he increased the price of an AIDS medication by 5,000 percent. 

Shkreli's paper was co-authored by several others including James Rondina, who previously wrote letters asking for leniency in Shkreli's 2017 conviction, as well as Kevin Mulleady, a man who prosecutors claim was an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, according to multiple outlets.

The letter was posted on the website of Prospero Pharmaceuticals, which contains no other information about the company save for the paper and a generic email address.

A defense attorney for Shkreli told Newsweek that he would formally request a furlough for his client for the reasons specified in the paper.

"Mr. Shkreli has prepared a coronavirus research proposal, which, if accurate could help scientists and doctors better understand how to deal with the coronavirus that is killing so many people," Benjamin Brafman said. "We will be requesting a three-month furlough so that he could do his research in a laboratory under strict supervision."