Internal Review Found ‘Falsified Data’ in Stanford President’s Alzheimer’s Research


From The Stanford Daily: “In 2009, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, then a top executive at the biotechnology company Genentech, was the primary author of a scientific paper published in the prestigious journal Nature that claimed to have found the potential cause for brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s patients. ‘Because of this research,’ read Genentech’s annual letter to shareholders, ‘we are working to develop both antibodies and small molecules that may attack Alzheimer’s from a novel entry point and help the millions of people who currently suffer from this devastating disease.’

But after several unsuccessful attempts to reproduce the research, the paper became the subject of an internal review by Genentech’s Research Review Committee (RRC), according to four high-level Genentech employees at the time; two were senior scientists and two were scientists who also served as executives. Three spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the allegations and non-disclosure agreements. The scientists, one of whom was an executive who sat on the review committee and all of whom were informed of the review’s findings at the time due to their stature at the company, said that the inquiry discovered falsification of data in the research, and that Tessier-Lavigne kept the finding from becoming public.

. . . Tessier-Lavigne, who became Stanford’s president in 2016, has been under investigation by the Stanford Board of Trustees since late November, after The Daily revealed concerns that several other papers he had co-authored contained altered imagery. But these latest allegations, about a different paper, are more serious because they involve what was once considered a promising treatment target for Alzheimer’s disease — and because people involved in the review allege that Tessier-Lavigne tried to keep its findings hidden.”

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