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Sloan Kettering executive gives up $1.4 million stake in biotech start-up


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 3rd, 2018

After a series of revelations about potential conflicts of interest, an executive at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is turning over nearly $1.4 million of a windfall stake in a biotech start-up launched out of the hospital.

The executive, Gregory Raskin, oversees the hospital’s ventures with for-profit companies. He received stakes in the start-up Y-mAbs Therapeutics as compensation for representing Memorial Sloan Kettering on the company’s board, stakes whose value recently skyrocketed when Y-mAbs went public.

At other similar research institutions, employees are prohibited from accepting personal compensation for such work. Rather, proceeds from research that has been successfully commercialized are typically put back into the institution to fund other research projects.

Raskin’s case is one of several at Memorial Sloan Kettering involving deals between researchers and companies that have alarmed hospital staff and led to major shake-ups at the cancer center, including the resignation of its chief medical officer and a re-examining of its conflict-of-interest policies.

The hospital recently issued a memo to employees outlining its plans to restrict some interactions with for-profit businesses and impose a moratorium on board members investing in or residing on the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering spinouts.

“We have determined that when profits emerge through the monetization of our research, financial payments to MSK-designated board members should be used for the benefit of the institution,” the memo reads.

According to hospital spokeswoman Christine Hickey, Raskin informed the hospital’s leadership about his stakes on September 21st, the same day that Y-mAbs went public and one day after a New York Times article exposed a potential conflict-of-interest surrounding the hospital’s deal with the startup Paige.AI. (See last week’s eNews report at https://tinyurl.com/y76y6akp.)

Hickey says Raskin fully disclosed his ties to Y-mAbs as required by the hospital.

Source: The New York Times

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