KSJ Tracker September 17, 2013

Did M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's president mislead investors about his company's drug?

M.D. Anderson President Ronald DePinho

"What did M.D. Anderson President Ronald DePinho know when he offered self-serving (and bad) investment advice on a CNBC television show?" asks Paul Goldberg of The Cancer Letter.

According to Goldberg, DePinho plugged the company started by him and his wife, Lynda Chin, a senior scientist at M.D. Anderson, on CNBC 11 days after his wife took part in a company meeting where the company's kidney-cancer drug was to be discussed.

The question is whether the drug's poor results were discussed at the meeting, and whether Chin shared that with DePinho before  he said, on television, that the company is developing "a very effective drug that has a superior safety profile for renal cell cancer."

Eric Berger and Todd Ackerman of the Chronicle put it this way:

Dr. Ronald DePinho, the president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, has said he didn't know about poor clinical trial results for a drug developed by his biotech company before praising the drug on a national business TV program.

However, documents obtained by a trade publication, The Cancer Letter, and the Houston Chronicle indicate that his wife, Dr. Lynda Chin, did know.

They also report that the company, Aveo, disclosed in July that the Securities and Exchange Commission has requested documents concerning the kidney-cancer drug, tivozanib.

Both Goldberg, and the Berger-Ackerman team, have done an excellent job of covering a series of missteps and improprieties over the past couple of years. As I've said here before, the story has not received anywhere near the national coverage that it should have.

There is much more of interest in these stories; I encourage you to link back and read them.

-Paul Raeburn


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