Friday, March 25, 2016

Harvard Royalty

He simply wants his Charest of the profits:

"Lawsuit against Harvard raises questions about split of biotech royalties" by Robert Weisman Globe Staff  March 18, 2016

Suggesting that Harvard University ran a “raggedy-ass” appeals process when a former graduate student claimed his research contribution was undervalued, a US judge has cleared the way for a rare trial on the school’s handling of royalties that could total millions of dollars.

The trial, which has yet to be scheduled, may open a window on a process largely invisible to the public: how researchers in Harvard’s renowned laboratories divvy up money from scientific discoveries that fuel the Boston area’s burgeoning biopharma industry.

“It’s very unusual that the case has gone this far,” said Steve Bauer, cochair of the national litigation practice at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. “Usually colleagues [at research labs] sit down in a room and reach agreement. This is a blockbuster case where there’s potentially so much money involved that people are willing to fight over small percentages.”

The case focuses on Harvard professor Andrew G. Myers’s chemistry lab, which discovered a method for synthetically creating a new class of tetracycline antibiotics and licensed its technology to Watertown’s Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals Inc. Tetraphase raised $75 million in a 2013 initial public offering on the strength of that drug-making technology.

Former graduate student Mark Charest, who worked in the lab and was lead author of a paper describing the discovery in the journal Science, filed suit against Harvard and Myers in 2013. His lawsuit alleged, among other things, that he was cheated out of patent royalties worth about $10 million. Harvard denied the charges and filed a motion to dismiss.

“At its core, this is about Harvard operating with impunity with respect to student rights,” said Charest, who received a PhD in organic chemistry in 2004 and is now a health care investor. “We tried to operate in good faith with them and we were met with a stone wall.”

Globe will break it down for you.