Imprimis: A Miracle Or Just A Press Release?

The most hated man in America right now?

Martin Shkreli.

This is the former hedge fund manager who bought Turing Pharmaceuticals and then jacked up the price of one of its drugs from $13.50 per pill to $750 – a 5,000% hike.

Cue howls of outrage, along with threats from politicians that catalyzed a large selloff among pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Shkreli, vilified in social media, became known as the “CEBro.”

Now comes Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IMMY), which is offering an alternative to Turing’s pill at the low, low price of just $1 each.

Imprimis is also creating an entire program dedicated to getting other overpriced, off-patent drugs into patients’ hands at lower prices.

This turn of events makes Imprimis a good guy among pharmaceutical firms and a sure-thing investment, right?

Not so fast.

From Minerals to Medicine… With Predictable Results

While the mainstream media immediately fawned over the white knight that’s galloped in to challenge the dastardly Shkreli, I dug into Imprimis to evaluate its claims.

In short, Imprimis is on shaky ground.

It’s not impossible that it will be able to execute on its plan to “save” its patients’ health or their cash. But its past and present activities do not auger well for the future.

In fact, Imprimis didn’t even start as a healthcare company – it was initially a non-operating shell company formed to invest in mineral exploration! Management executed a reverse-merger with a privately held pharmaceutical company and thus reoriented the business model.

That iteration of the company went bankrupt in 2011 because its proposed drug didn’t work.

Rather than liquidating, the company somehow came out of bankruptcy and started working on other products. The results aren’t good.

  • First up was a “dropless” eye drop. Prior to 2014, it generated total revenue of about $300,000 from that product, all through licensing agreements. No patient appears ever to have purchased this product directly from the company prior to last year.

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    Author: Travis Esquivel

    Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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