TIME Australia

Sydney School Kids Just Made Martin Shkreli’s Overpriced Drug for About $2

But they won’t be selling it in the U.S. any time soon

Last year Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and founder of biotech company Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased the rights to a critical anti-parasitic drug and jacked up the price by more than 5,000%.

People everywhere freaked out.

Turing had acquired the U.S. marketing rights to Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used to treat malaria and parasitic infections in patients with weakened immune systems. After picking up the rights, Shkreli immediately raised the price from $US13.50 a pill to $US750.

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He became known as the drug industry’s villain.

Now a group of year 11 students from Sydney Grammar have made the same drug for about $2 (U.S. $1.50) a dose, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The students’ project is part of the University of Sydney’s Open Source Malaria Consortium. It’s only the second year Sydney Grammar has been involved.

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“Working on a real-world problem definitely made us more enthusiastic,” one of the Sydney Grammar boys, Austin Zhang, 17, told the Herald.

The boys started with 17g of the raw material 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile, which you can buy online at $36.50 for 100g.

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They had to work through a number of steps with their chemistry teacher, finding an innovative way to get around the patented route.

From the 17g of raw material, the boys produced 3.7g of Daraprim — That’s about $US110,000 worth of the drug based on the price mark-up of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

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But they won’t be selling it in the U.S. any time soon.

While the drug is out of patent, Turing Pharmaceuticals controls its distribution and sale through a loophole called the “closed distribution model” and the consortium would need to fund a whole new trial to take it to market as a generic product.

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The SMH has more.

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com

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