U. Penn Cancer Institute Claims Sloan-Kettering CEO Improperly Used Research

The president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is in the midst of a billion-dollar dispute with the cancer center of the University of Pennsylvania, which claims he walked away with groundbreaking research and used it to establish a biotechnology company, according to a New York Times report.

Craig B. Thompson, MD, is the former scientific director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at Penn, a position he held since 2006. He established Agios Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on the development of new cancer treatments, in 2007. He was named president of Sloan-Kettering in 2010.

The Abramson institute claims Dr. Thompson concealed his role in founding Agios and therefore deprived the institute of proceeds that could support research, resulting in damages that may exceed $1 billion. The lawsuit claims the institute did not know about Dr. Thompson's role in Agios until late 2011. The suit has been filed by the Abramson institute — not the university — though the university was investigating the accusations.

Under its agreement with Penn, the Abramson institute has certain rights to intellectual property that results from any research funded by the institute. Dr. Thompson's lawyer, though, says Dr. Thompson actually worked for the university, meaning the institute does not have a standing to sue.

Dr. Thompson has denied the allegations in a statement and said, "It is unfortunate that the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute has chosen to go down this path," according to the report.

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