Report: Shkreli Arrest Prompts Cancer Center to Stop Trial

Moffitt Cancer Center said there's nothing wrong with the drug, but a spokesman said the trial is halted for now pending the outcome of the investigation.

The renowned Moffitt Cancer Center is suspending a clinical trial in the wake of the arrest of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli because of his ties to biotech company sponsoring the study, according to a published report in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times has reported that for now, Moffitt is halting a trial sponsored by KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, a California company that Shkreli ran prior to his December 17, 2015, arrest on fraud charges.

Shkreli became infamous as the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals when he gained control of Daraprim, an older drug used to treat patients with HIV, and raised the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 overnight. The federal securities charges he faces stem from his prior work with a hedge fund. He is accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme to funnel money from one pharmaceutical company he ran to pay off disgruntled investors from the fund.

Although he has denied the charges, Shkreli has resigned from Turing and has also been fired at KaloBios, according to published reports.

A Moffitt spokesman said last week that the cancer center wanted to see what happened with the investigation before it proceeded with the trial. Steven Blanchard described the trial to the paper as “on hold.”

KaloBios had been working to develop a drug for patients with chronic myelomoncytic leukemia. Blanchard told The Times that the center’s decision to shelve the trying pending results of the investigation was “completely related” to the charges against Shkreli, even though there is nothing wrong with the drug itself.