Bloomberg News

Sloan-Kettering Chief Faces Suit by University of Pennsylvania

February 24, 2012

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center was accused by the University of Pennsylvania in a lawsuit of breaching his fiduciary duty to the school by using research he helped develop there to start his own company.

The complaint against Dr. Craig Thompson, filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court, follows a Dec. 13 complaint against him by the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the Philadelphia-based school. The complaint also names the company Thompson formed, Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Thompson breached his duty “by failing to disclose to the university research and discoveries that he instead provided to a for-profit corporation and ultimately publicly disclosed in international journal publications, both to the detriment of the university,” according to the complaint.

Thompson studied cancer metabolism while he was scientific director of the institute, which was created by a $100 million donation from the Abramson family foundation to the university, according to the suits against him. Without telling the university, Thompson formed Agios to exploit the research, the complaints say.

Thompson’s lawyer, Allan J. Arffa, and John Evans, a spokesman for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Agios, didn’t immediately return calls for comment on yesterday’s breach-of- contract and breach-of-duty lawsuit.

The suit doesn’t name Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

The cases are Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania v. Thompson, 12-cv-1330, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), and Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute v. Thompson, 11-09108, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

--With assistance from Bob Van Voris in New York. Editors: Glenn Holdcraft, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporters on this story: David Glovin in New York at; Thom Weidlich in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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