Charles Lieber, AP

Em­bat­tled Har­vard sci­en­tist Charles Lieber goes on a counter-of­fen­sive, hir­ing high-pro­file lawyer and su­ing Har­vard for aban­don­ing him amid fed­er­al probe

Charles Lieber, the Har­vard sci­en­tist fac­ing fed­er­al charges for al­leged­ly ly­ing about Chi­nese fund­ing, is mount­ing a fierce le­gal de­fense, be­gin­ning with the en­list­ment of a high-pro­file at­tor­ney and a law­suit against his em­ploy­er.

Marc L. Mukasey

Lieber hired Marc Mukasey, a crim­i­nal at­tor­ney who de­fend­ed for­mer Navy Seal Ed­ward Gal­lagher against war crime charges last year and cur­rent­ly rep­re­sents Er­ic Trump in a New York state fraud case, the New York Times first re­port­ed. And on Fri­day, he filed suit against Har­vard, al­leg­ing the uni­ver­si­ty aban­doned him and their re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to in­dem­ni­fy him or aid his le­gal de­fense.

The le­gal ma­neu­ver­ing sets Lieber apart from the oth­er re­searchers caught up in the Jus­tice De­part­ment’s ef­fort to weed out sci­en­tists it claims were si­phon­ing re­search from the US to Chi­na, un­der the so-called Thou­sand Tal­ents pro­gram. The drag­net had large­ly caught up grad­u­ate stu­dents and pro­fes­sors of Chi­nese ori­gin, some of whom left the coun­try or oth­er­wise did not con­test charges in court.

Lieber was ar­rest­ed in Jan­u­ary on charges of ly­ing to the US gov­ern­ment about re­ceiv­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from the Chi­nese state and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Chi­nese tal­ent re­cruit­ment pro­gram, while NIH and DoD spent over $15 mil­lion fund­ing his lab. The tenured pro­fes­sor, a pi­o­neer in med­ical nan­otech­nol­o­gy and the chair of Har­vard’s chem­istry de­part­ment, plead­ed not guilty on Ju­ly 30.

The new law­suit ar­gues that Har­vard ben­e­fit­ed from years of Lieber’s re­search, on­ly to dis­tance them­selves en­tire­ly when fed­er­al of­fi­cials rolled in. He is cur­rent­ly on paid leave from the uni­ver­si­ty.

Pros­e­cu­tors say Lieber signed an agree­ment to be­come a “strate­gic sci­en­tist” at the Wuhan Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy in Chi­na, a po­si­tion that grant­ed him $200,000 per year in liv­ing ex­pens­es and salary and an­oth­er $1.5 mil­lion to open a sec­ond lab in the Chi­nese city. They added that he was se­lect­ed for Thou­sand Tal­ents — a pro­gram meant to re­cruit top for­eign sci­en­tists that fed­er­al of­fi­cials say was a con­duit to steal­ing re­search — in 2012 but claimed to have nev­er tak­en part in the pro­gram when he was in­ter­viewed by fed­er­al of­fi­cials in 2018.

He could face more than 10 years in prison for fail­ing to dis­close the Chi­nese fund­ing, fil­ing false tax re­turns and fail­ing to re­port a for­eign bank ac­count.

Op­ti­miz­ing Cell and Gene Ther­a­py De­vel­op­ment and Pro­duc­tion: How Tech­nol­o­gy Providers Like Corn­ing Life Sci­ences are Spurring In­no­va­tion

Remarkable advances in cell and gene therapy over the last decade offer unprecedented therapeutic promise and bring new hope for many patients facing diseases once thought incurable. However, for cell and gene therapies to reach their full potential, researchers, manufacturers, life science companies, and academics will need to work together to solve the significant challenges facing the industry.

Amid mon­key­pox fears, biotechs spring to ac­tion; Mod­er­na’s CFO trou­ble; Cuts, cuts every­where; Craft­ing the right pro­teins; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

It’s always a bittersweet moment saying goodbye, but as Josh Sullivan goes off to new adventures we are grateful for the way he’s built up the Endpoints Manufacturing section — which the rest of the team will now carry forward. If you’re not already, this may be a good time to sign up for your weekly dose of drug manufacturing news. Thank you for reading and wish you a restful weekend.

Bay­er sounds re­treat from a $670 mil­lion CAR-T pact in the wake of a pa­tient death

Two months after Atara Biotherapeutics hit the hold button on its lead CAR-T 2.0 therapy following a patient death, putting the company under the watchful eye of the FDA, its Big Pharma partners at Bayer are bowing out of a $670 million global alliance. And the move is forcing a revamp of Atara’s pipeline plans, even as research execs vow to continue work on the two drugs allied with Bayer 18 months ago, which delivered a $60 million cash upfront.

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Martin Shkreli (Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch/IPX)

In­fa­mous biotech ex­ec Mar­tin Shkre­li gets out of prison, hits the street

Martin Shkreli, the infamous biotech CEO who made headlines for his jeering assault on a legion of critics in and out of Congress, is back on the streets after 4 years inside a federal penitentiary.

Shkreli’s attorney put out a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that the “pharma bro” had been transferred to a halfway house in New York with a few more months to go under federal custody, slated to end September 14. Attorney Benjamin Brafman acknowledged the release and vowed that he and Shkreli are keeping quiet.

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Sanofi and Re­gen­eron clear the fin­ish line in an in­flam­ma­to­ry esoph­a­gus dis­ease, leav­ing Take­da in the dust

With atopic dermatitis rivals breathing down Dupixent’s neck, Sanofi and Regeneron on Friday secured a first win in new territory in what Sanofi’s head of immunology and inflammation Naimish Patel called the fastest approval he’s ever seen.

The FDA approved Dupixent on Friday to treat patients 12 years and older with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an inflammatory condition that causes swelling and scarring of the esophagus. The approval came just a couple months after regulators granted Dupixent priority review, and months ahead of its PDUFA date on Aug. 3.

Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues its biotech build­ing spree with new fa­cil­i­ty in Chi­na

A Japanese conglomerate is making a big play in China with the opening of a new facility, as it continues to expand.

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific has opened its new Innovation and Collaboration Center in Suzhou New District, China, an area in Jiangsu province specifically designated for technological and industrial development.

According to Fujifilm, the 12,000-square-foot site will be responsible for the company’s cell culture media optimization, analysis and design services. Cell culture media itself often requires customization of formulas and protocols to achieve the desired quantity and quality of therapeutic desired. Fujifilm Irvine Scientific is offering these services from its headquarters in California and Japan to its customers globally, as well as in China now.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

French pres­i­dent names Stéphane Ban­cel a Cheva­lier for Mod­er­na's Covid tri­umph

Moderna’s rapid fire development of its hugely successful mRNA vaccine for Covid saved lives, changed the vaccine industry forever and made CEO Stéphane Bancel a billionaire. But perhaps the sweetest reward came this week, when Bancel was named a Chevalier — basically knighted — by the president of France.

Prestigious European titles like this are rare in biopharma, but not unknown, as AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos could tell you after being knighted by the Queen, named on the honors list in 2020 for his contribution to science.

Try­ing to shake up the Parkin­son's par­a­digm, Ab­b­Vie sub­mits NDA for con­tin­u­ous, 24-hour in­fu­sion ther­a­py

AbbVie is approaching the FDA with a new therapy to potentially treat Parkinson’s disease, using prodrugs of two medications commonly used for the condition.

The Big Pharma submitted its NDA for ABBV-951, a solution of levodopa and carbidopa prodrugs being evaluated in advanced Parkinson’s patients who don’t respond well to oral therapy, AbbVie announced Friday morning. Researchers are hoping a positive Phase III study that reads out in late October will help move things along quickly at the agency.

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Brian Ach/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

All Blue's $733M bid to ac­quire Zymeworks turns hos­tile as board bat­tles back — af­ter a biotech celebri­ty jumps in

Yesterday, the team at All Blue Capital — bent on the takeover of a badly battered Zymeworks — brought in celebrated oncologist, Pulitzer prize-winning writer and biotech exec Siddhartha Mukherjee to add some glitz to their proposed board. But they’re still not winning over any converts.

This morning, Zymeworks’ board officially turned this acquisition offer into a hostile showdown, rejecting the unsolicited offer and marshaling its forces to prevent a buyout at $10.50 per share.

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