Stanley Cohen: Stanford geneticist, 87, LIED to friend who invested $20M in drug with 'deadly side effects'

Stanley Cohen: Stanford geneticist, 87, LIED to friend who invested $20M in drug with 'deadly side effects'
Stanley Cohen, a Stanford University professor, paid $29 million in fines after duping his friend in investing $20 million to a cure for Huntington's disease (Stanford University)

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA: Stanley Cohen, who is a famous geneticist and Stanford University professor known for his groundbreaking discoveries cloning technologies, has paid $29 million in fines and $9 million in interests as ordered by the Superior Court of California. He was accused of cheating his friend into investing almost $20 million in a cure for Huntington's disease despite the fact that there is no cure for the disease. 

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Stanford Daily reported that the world-renowned scientist was found to have committed “a species of actual fraud and…deceit” in misleading investors into a biotechnology company he founded in 2016. The 87-year-old scientist has admitted to providing inaccurate testimony to the court. Cohen claimed that he had found a treatment for the Huntington's disease and lied that it was approved by the FDA, attracting investors to his company called Nuredis. Following these claims, Cohen's long-time friend and biotech investor, Christopher Alafi, invested $20 million only to be duped. Cohen failed to inform his investors about the deadly side effects and subsequent FDA decision. 

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Alafi's lawyer, Michael Gardener, said, "They live near each other…their families socialized with each other, they went to Yom Kippur services together, they visited each other in the hospital. I mean everyone relied on [Cohen] because he was such a close family friend and because this was a world renowned scientist, so when he tells you something, you tend to believe that." Alafi filed the court case in October 2018 and Cohen testified under oath that he "told Christopher Alafi that the drug had been withdrawn from the market."

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Who is Professor Stanley Cohen?

Cohen is an American geneticist and the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine. Along with Herbert Boyer, he was the first scientist to transplant genes from one living organism to another, making a fundamental discovery for genetical engineering. Cohen's DNA cloning technology has helped biologists in virtually every field as per many immunologists. 

Originally hailing from Perth Amboy, New Jersey,  Cohen, he graduated from Rutgers University with a BS and later received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Cohen first joined the Stanford University in 1968. He was soon appointed as a professor of medicine in 1975, and later on became professor of genetics in 1977. Over his many years of career, Cohen developed techniques for studying the behavior of genes in eukaryotic cells using reporter genes.

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