A group of Australian teenagers who re-created the active ingredient of a $750 AIDS drug for just $20 have been told by the drug's owner, controversial entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, that they have a long way to go before he views them as competition.
Shkreli, the 33-year-old biopharmaceutical millionaire, made headlines in 2015 for buying the rights to lifesaving AIDS drug Daraprim and increasing the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.
Students from Sydney Grammar School were able to re-create the active ingredient of Daraprim, pyrimethamine, in their school lab.
"It wasn't terribly hard but that's really the point, I think, because we're high school students," 17-year-old student Charles Jameson told the BBC.
The story was reported as a blow for Shkreli in several media outlets.
Shkreli took to Twitter and YouTube, citing manufacturing, labour, and equipment costs as he told the Australian teenagers that yes, anyone can make the drug, but they "have $4,999,980 to go" in order to be ready to sell their $20 creation.
"These Australian students are proof that the 21st-century economy will solve problems of human suffering through science and technology," said Shkreli in a YouTube statement.
"Medical science has brought tremendous advances... we should congratulate these students for their interest in chemistry and all be excited about what is to come in this STEM-focused 21st century."
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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