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Man who hiked price of AIDS drug by 5,000% steps down following arrest

Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli, the executive arrested on securities fraud charges related to a company he previously ran, has resigned as the head of one of the companies he now runs, Turing Pharmaceuticals.

He is being replaced on an interim basis by Ron Tilles, who has been chairman of Turing's board of directors since the company was founded late last year.

In a statement on Friday, Turing said that Mr Tilles will continue to hold the board chairman position as well.

Mr Tilles has worked at numerous private equity and venture capital firms in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries over the past two decades.

Mr Shkreli, a 32-year-old former hedge fund manager, has become "the most hated man in America" according to some headline writers for hiking up the price of the only approved drug for a life-saving parasitic infection by 5,000% after acquiring rights to it.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors said that between 2009 and 2014, he lost some of his hedge fund investors' money through bad trades, then looted Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company where he was chief executive, for 11 million US dollars (£7.4 million) to pay back his disgruntled clients.

Mr Shkreli, a flagrant self-promoter who recently said he should have hiked the price of anti-parasitic drug Daraprim even more, was paraded in handcuffs by the FBI after his arrest.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of securities fraud and conspiracy, which carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted. He was released on five million dollar (£3.3 million) bail.

The news - unrelated to his actions at Turing - delighted patients, advocacy groups and others who found his price-gouging despicable.

Turing has offices in New York and Zug, Switzerland.

Mr Shkreli recently became the chief executive of a second company, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, based in San Francisco. It is not yet known whether he will remain at the helm there.