Former Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers charged with stealing trade secrets

A couple who previously worked in medical research labs at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children's Hospital's Research Institute are accused of stealing scientific trade secrets for their own financial gain, according to the Department of Justice.

According to the indictment, Yu Zhou and Li Chen worked at separate medical research labs at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Research Institute for 10 years each. The couple allegedly stole trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medial conditions.

The husband and wife allegedly founded a company in China in 2015, while employed by Nationwide Children's. They marketed products and services related to exosome isolation through their Chinese company without the hospital's knowledge, according to the Justice Department.

Mr. Zhou is also accused of co-founding an American biotechnology company in 2017. "As of 2019, the company's website advertised multiple products and services related to exosome isolation, including a kit that was developed from a trade secret created at a Nationwide Children's research lab," according to the Justice Department.

The couple was arrested in July after resigning from Nationwide Children's. The case against them was unsealed Sept. 16, and they will remain in custody ahead of trial, reports ABC6.

Regarding the case, Nationwide Children's released the following statement to ABC6:

"When we discovered this incident, we alerted the FBI and have been actively collaborating with them. We are grateful for their expertise throughout this process."

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