September 30, 2014 / 10:46 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Retrophin fires founder and CEO Shkreli

(Adds detail; updates shares)

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Retrophin Inc said it fired founder and Chief Executive Martin Shkreli effective immediately, the second top level change at the drugmaker this month.

The company’s shares were up 4 percent in extended trading after falling as much as 4 percent earlier.

Retrophin said it had appointed Chief Operating Officer Stephen Aselage as interim CEO.

Aselage was the chief business officer at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc before joining Retrophin in 2012.

Retrophin was not immediately available for comment.

Retrophin, which currently markets hypertension drug Vecamyl and metabolism treatment Chenodal among others, is developing drugs for a number of rare diseases including rage disorders, schizophrenia and infantile spasms.

The company in May acquired the U.S. marketing rights to a potentially lucrative drug for treating a rare kidney disease, and raised its full-year forecast.

Shkreli said on a conference call after the deal that the drug, Thiola, then sold for $4,000 a year per patient, would be priced closer to rival drug penicillamine, which costs $80,000 to $140,000.

The company said earlier this month that Chief Financial Officer Marc Panoff and board member Jeffrey Paley had stepped down.

Shkreli, 31, owns about 11 percent stake in the company and is the second biggest shareholder as of Sept. 22, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“Not selling $RTRX. The stock is very, very cheap. The revenue generating assets alone are worth >$25/share with very onerous EOL assumption,” Shkreli said on the microblogging site Twitter after his removal.

Shkreli is also the founder and managing partner of MSMB Capital Management, a New York hedge fund firm founded in 2006.

Australia’s Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Ltd in August rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal from Retrophin, saying the offer “materially undervalues the company.”

Up to Tuesday’s close of $9.02, Retrophin’s shares had lost nearly 30 percent of their value since the end of May when the company announced the Thiola deal. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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