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U of Missouri-Kansas City says professor made millions from stolen research

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: March 13th, 2019

A pharmacy professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) stole a student’s research and sold it to a drug developer, defrauding the university of millions of dollars, according to a lawsuit recently filed by UM.

The suit alleges that professor Ashim Mitra has already improperly acquired $1.5 million from the sale to Auven Therapeutics Management, a pharmaceutical company based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which later resold the invention to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries in India for $40 million. The lawsuit says that Mitra may stand to earn $10 million more in royalties over the next five years from what UMKC says could be a billion-dollar drug.

The research that Mitra allegedly stole involves a new and more effective way to deliver drugs to the eye. The suit claims that the money rightfully belongs to the university because the student who developed it, Kishore Cholkar, was employed as a graduate research assistant at the time.

“Mitra stole UMKC-owned inventions, sold them to industry, assisted those companies in patenting and commercializing them, denied credit to a deserving student and reaped a personal financial windfall — all the while concealing his efforts and denying his involvement,” a statement from UMKC reads.

Mitra claims that not only is he innocent of financial wrongdoing, but also that he is a rightful inventor of the drug delivery technology.

“I can unequivocally prove that this invention was conceptualized and produced by myself and the rightful co-creators,” Mitra comments. “It is clear to see that both [Cholkar] and UMKC are now trying to reap the benefits of the tireless work myself and others have put in to make this a success.”

In addition to Mitra, others named as defendants in the lawsuit include his wife, Ranjana Mitra, and the two companies that purchased the invention, as well the Mitras’ company, Mitra Consulting Services Inc.

Source: The Charlotte Observer

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