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University Sues Researcher

A prominent researcher is being sued for $1 billion by a University of Pennsylvania Cancer Institute for discoveries he may have made while a researcher and administrator there.

By | January 3, 2012

University of PennsylvaniaWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, BRYAN Y.W. SHIN

Prominent researcher Craig Thompson, current president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is being sued by his former employer, the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, which he headed for 12 years, for not disclosing his industry activities.

While at the institute, he founded a biotech company called Agios pharmaceuticals. In the $1 billion lawsuit, the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Institute claims that Thompson was not forthcoming about founding Agios, simply saying that he was interested in starting a company based on the potential of a common diabetes drug in cancer prevention. According to the suit, he did not follow up when the company was launched in 2007. The institute claims that it has rights to the intellectual property that the company was founded on, according to ScienceInsider.

However, Thompson’s affiliation was not secret. He was announced as the co-founder in the company’s earliest press releases, reported ScienceInsider. When asked whether the company’s technology should be reviewed by the University’s technology transfer office, Thompson said “no,” according to the lawsuit.  Thompson has until early February to respond to the institute’s claims.

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