These school kids have recreated Martin Shkreli's $750 drug and it's very, very cheap

Martin Shkreli became known as the most hated man in America after he raised the price of an antiparasitic drug to $750 (£600). Now a group of Australian schoolboys has recreated it for a fraction of the cost.

Under the supervision of the University of Sydney and Open Source Malaria, Sydney Grammar students have reproduced Daraprim - a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis and commonly prescribed to people with HIV.

Various reports suggest the cost of the drug created by the students ranges from US$2 (£1.60) to US$15 (£12) a pill, but whatever the manufacturing costs, it certainly beats the $750 price point demanded by Turing Pharmaceuticals - the company that manufactures the drug.

Last year prices for Daraprim rose from $13.50 (£10) to $750 per tablet overnight after an unprecedented price hike by Shkreli, former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

The firm acquired the market rights to the medicine in September 2015 and raised the price of a dose more than 5,000% overnight.

Shkreli was vilified online and became known as the "most hated man in America", but he defended the hike even in the face of criticism from political leaders including Hillary Clinton.

The drug is on the World Health Organisation's list of essential medicines.

Sydney Grammar's year 11 students recreated the formula for pyrimethamine - the ingredient used in Daraprim - in their high school laboratories in an attempt to "highlight the inequity of the monopoly".

Speaking about the students' achievements, Dr Alice Williamson, from the university's school of chemistry, said: "The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers Malcolm Binns and Erin Sheridan was translated into a complete route in the public domain by the use of the Open Source Malaria platform.

"Anyone could take part and all data and ideas are shared in real time."

Meanwhile, Shkreli has been responding to comments on Twitter about the story in typically combative style.

Martin Shkreli.
Martin Shkreli (Susan Walsh/AP)

The findings have been presented at the 2016 Royal Australian Chemical Institute Organic One Day Symposium.

Read Full Story