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Turing CEO Invested in This Penny Stock Biotech to Keep It Alive

MSMB Capital Management CIO Martin ShkreliMSMB Capital Management CIO Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli is the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which faced flack this year over its 5,000% price increase for older life-saving treatment Daraprim.Photograph by Paul Taggart — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Turing CEO Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive who captured headlines for the steep price increase of an off-patent medication in August, and a group of investors purchased a majority share of a little known biotech called KaloBios Pharmaceuticals.

KaloBios (KBIO) was getting ready to shutter its operations before the cash infusion after facing several setbacks in its efforts to develop new drugs. The company had sought “a number of possible strategic transactions” but failed to find a suitor.

The biotech company had been working on two different drug programs. One dubbed KB004 that focused on hematologic malignancies, and another labeled KB003 that was set to start Phase 1 development focusing on chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Shares of KaloBios were trading at between $1 and $2 throughout the week, closing at $2.07 Thursday before news of the transaction. After the news broke, shares of the company soared as much as 1,059% in after hours trading at one point.

Shkreli and fellow investors acquired 1.2 million shares over Monday and Tuesday this week, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Shkreli previously owned 414,000 shares before that and bought another 440,000 on Wednesday.

KaloBios confirmed that its been in touch with its new majority shareholders and is talking with Shkreli about a “possible direction for the company to continue in operation.”

“Our board of directors is prepared to entertain any constructive proposal, which we will act upon promptly,” said Ronald Martell, CEO of KaloBios, in a statement. “Addressing short-term cash needs is our first priority, and we continue to be open to further dialogue.”

Shkreli wasn’t immediately available to comment on the investment nor has he made a statement publicly. It’s not unreasonable that he could merge the two companies and take Turing public, though no such sentiment has been hinted at by the company.