Do you remember the Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli? He quickly became one a despised villain when he drastically raised the price of lifesaving drugs used in the treatment of HIV, malaria, and for those undergoing chemotherapy. Overnight, the price of the medication skyrocketed by 5,000% from $13.50 to $750.00 per pill.
Just as the medication skyrocketed, so did his profile as the most reviled men in America. His ex-girlfriend exposed “Katie” that after they broke up, he offered her $10,000 over Facebook Messenger (how romantic) to eat her out. Soon everyone and their outspoken drunk uncle had something to say about him.
At first, all the hate coming his way intimidated him. He locked down his Twitter account and gave the world peace and quiet, but that didn’t last long. He soon embraced the hatred directed towards him, creating a super villain alter-ego by taunting the public by extravagant spending. Like when spent $2 million to buy the rights to the only copy of a highly anticipated Wu-Tang Clan Album so that no one else could listen to it.
It looks like Martin Shkreli will have to move on and find other ways to be hated though, since a group of 11 high school students, ages 16 and 17, successfully recreated the drug, Daraprim, for a mere $2 a pill, according to scientists from the University of Sydney.
“We’ve been really shocked by Martin Shkreli,” Alice Williamson, a postdoctoral teaching fellow with the university’s school of chemistry, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I couldn’t really stop thinking about it.”
Just like in the Marvel Movies, good always triumphs over evil and the villain usually ends up getting crushed.
One of the students behind the discovery, Milan Leonard, told ABC about the moment they realized that they’d successfully replicated the drug in their school’s laboratory at Sydney Grammar:
“It was ecstatic, it was bliss, it was euphoric. After all of this time spent working and chemistry being such a high and low, after all the lows, after all the downs, being able to make this drug, it was pure bliss.”
“At first there was definitely disbelief. We spent so long and there were so many obstacles that we, not lost hope, but it surprised us like, ‘oh, we actually made this material’ and, ‘this can actually help people out there’. So it was definitely disbelief but then it turned in to happiness as we realized we finally got to our main goal.”
University of Sydney research chemist Dr Alice Williamson said: “The original route that we got, so the original recipe if you like to make this molecule, was from a patent that was referenced on Wikipedia.
“Now of course we checked to see if it looked reasonable … but the route that was up actually had one step that involved a really dangerous chemical. The boys had to navigate a difficult step and do this in a different way, and they’ve managed to do that, and they’ve managed to do that in their high school laboratory.”
The only issue is that the students version of the drug has not yet been approved by the FDA, but it is now only a matter of time.