- Typically, universities aggressively recruit top researchers from rivals---but in some cases, they might overdo it.
- FierceBiotech reports that when former University of California at San Diego (UCSD) researcher Paul Aisen was recruited by University of Southern California (USC), he took high-level investigators and research funding with him.
- Aisen, who has now left UCSD, was also the director of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a large research consortium that receives a lot of funding from pharma companies, as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The ADCS is a National Institute on Aging (NIA) clinical initiative conducted at about 80 research sites in the U.S. and Canada. Millions of dollars are poured into the ADCS to fund various clinical trials, and since 1991, the ACDS has conducted 30 clinical trials, As director of the ADCS since 2007, Aisen has had a great deal of power in terms of allocating funding, which makes him a valuable target for avid recruiters.
In response to the departure of Aisen from UCSD to USC, UCSD has filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages. UCSD asserts that USC's agressive recruitment tactics were conspiratorial and unethical. For its part, USC bemoans the fact that UCSD is not taking a "collaborative" approach to manage the transition.
This is all playing out in the context of increased excitement about several AD therapies currently in development, including Eli Lilly's late-stage drug, solanezumab, and Biogen's BIIB-037. However, pharma companies are focused and determined to continue their efforts to address the large unmet medical need associated with AD, even as this academic research drama plays out.