UCSD loses Alzheimer's research contract

Pharmaceutical giant Lilly shifts to USC, new home of alleged staff/data poacher

The financial repercussions of a controversial move by one of UC San Diego's top researchers to the University of Southern California appear to be surfacing.

Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical giant, announced Tuesday (August 4) that it intends to end its contract with UCSD for research related to solanezumab, a prospective new early-stage Alzheimer's treatment drug.

Did Paul Aisen steal UCSD data?

The announcement comes in the wake of Alzheimer's specialist Paul Aisen leaving UCSD in order to start a San Diego-based research facility in conjunction with USC. The move has been the subject of litigation by UCSD, who claim that Aisen, while still on the university's payroll, called meetings for the purpose of poaching staff to join him in his planned exodus. Aisen and others are also accused of stealing data and property from UCSD prior to the move.

It has been reported that Aisen was allegedly offered $8 million by USC to set up his new facility if he agreed to move, as well as a $500,000 annual salary.

"From the outset of this unfortunate dispute, Lilly has publicly stated that the company's objectives are to maintain the safety of the A4 participants, ensure scientific and data integrity for the study and maintain our obligations as the regulatory sponsor," reads a release from Lilly announcing the termination of UCSD's study oversight.

Lilly tries to assuage UCSD

"The A4 study will continue uninterrupted as the company initiates discussions with the University of Southern California about transitioning management and oversight of the study, while the company will simultaneously work with UCSD on a transition plan."

Phyllis Ferrell, Lilly's Alzheimer's platform leader, adds that the company "has many ongoing collaborations with researchers at UCSD" and that "nothing in our decision concerning the A4 study should be read to reflect any diminished enthusiasm in working with UCSD."

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