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Biological Chemistry

GSK Fires Drug Researcher

by Jean-François Tremblay
June 17, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 24

GlaxoSmithKline has fired the founder of its R&D center in Shanghai and put three other scientists on administrative leave after determining they had authored a paper in Nature Medicine in 2010 in which data were misrepresented (DOI: 10.1038/nm.2077). Another researcher resigned. The fired researcher is Jingwu Z. Zhang, whom GSK had appointed in 2007 to establish and head the company’s R&D center in Shanghai. Zhang was not leading the R&D center at the time he was let go; he was GSK’s senior vice president for R&D in China. He holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Brussels and did postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School. Zhang had been research director at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. When GSK appointed him, he was heading the Shanghai Institute of Health Science, an organization he founded that is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The paper describes research into a protein associated with autoimmune disease. GSK says it is still investigating the case, which did not directly involve patients. The company employs about 400 scientists in China.

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Comments
Dave (June 19, 2013 4:21 PM)
I noticed the article where Dr. Zhang was able to defend himself was pulled. Why exactly was it pulled? Did GSK threaten to sue C&E News over it?

I'll reiterate my question here from the comment section on the pulled article:

From the info from the pulled article, it sounds like it wasn't data fabrication, but a mistake that nobody caught. So, why didn't GSK just have them submit an addition/correction to the journal instead of starting a whole internal investigation into this? It sounds like it was a simple mistake that happens often in publishing papers, so why the nuclear fallout?

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