Two lawsuits filed against the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City have been settled, the parties announced on Friday. Prominent researcher Craig Thompson had faced allegations from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and the research arm of its cancer center, The Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, that he concealed his involvement in a biotechnology company and failed to share intellectual property from his discoveries with the university, as required. Thompson had worked at the Abramson institute for 12 years.
The parties have been tight-lipped since the first lawsuit was filed in December. (The second came in February.) It's not clear whether one side came out ahead, as terms of the settlement are hazy. Penn and one of its opponents in the suit, Agios Pharmaceuticals (which Thompson helped found), announced that they had entered into a licensing agreement involving intellectual property of cancer diagnostics.
The lawsuits were unusual both for Thompson's stature and for their sweeping allegations. The Abramson cancer research institute charged that damages were estimated to "exceed $1 billion." In addition to Thompson, the suit named Agios and another company, Celgene Corp., as defendants. Celgene was not a defendant in the second lawsuit filed by Penn, however.