Medical professor charged in $16M fraud scheme

A federal grand jury indicted a pharmaceutical researcher and medical professor charging him with defrauding the National Institutes of Health of about $16 million in grant funds from 2015 to 2023. 

Hoau-Yan Wang, PhD, 67, a professor of medicine at City University of New York and an advisor at drug development company Cassava Sciences, fabricated and falsified scientific data in grant applications NIH seeking funds for the research of simufilam, a potential treatment and diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease from May 2015 to April 2023, according to a June 28 news release from the Justice Department. 

The indictment claims that Dr. Wang's work was related to early development of the potential drug and test, rather than how the drug and test were intended to work and the improvement of Alzheimer's disease indicators after treatment with the drug, according to the release. 

Dr. Wang was charged with one count of major fraud against the U.S., two counts of wire fraud, and one count of false statements. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the count of major fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, and five years in prison for the count of false statements, the release said.

The university responded to the allegations in a statement to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

"Today, CUNY learned of the indictment against Dr. Hoau-Yan Wang. The University has and will continue to cooperate to the fullest degree with the federal government’s investigation until the matter is resolved."

The drug development company also released a statement that said the work Dr. Wang did under the grants "was related to the early development phases of the company's drug candidate and diagnostic test," and that Dr. Wang "had no involvement in the company’s Phase 3 clinical trials of simufilam."

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