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Pharma company dropped secret Penkowa deal in 2004

Danish pharmaceutical giant had deal with Penkowa – then got cold feet

Medicine manufacturing company Lundbeck entered into, and then exited, a deal with now disgraced University of Copenhagen scientist Milena Penkowa in 2003-2004. This is according to Danish daily Weekendavisen on Friday.

The company dropped the co-operation because of suspicions that she had not carried out the experiments on rats that she claimed.

Lundbeck is internationally known for its production of anti-depressants and other brain drugs. The agreement with Milena Penkowa was for the patent EP1439822. According to the European Patent Register it was regarding liposomes, including the chemical known as metallothionein.

Too secret to disclose to Ralf Hemmingsen

According to Penkowa, the substance had potential against degenerative illnesses of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and sclerosis.

Milena Penkowa, Juan Hidalgo of Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and Pedro Gonzalez Enseñat from the company Transtechnics in Barcelona, plus one of Hidalgo’s colleagues, are registered in Lundbeck’s ‘research and option’ agreement.

The deal was so secret, according to Penkowa, that she was not able to disclose it to the former Dean at the University of Copenhagen, now Rector Ralf Hemmingsen, who at this time was trying to find out whether the rat experiments had actually taken place.

Company not comfortable with Penkowa

Deputy CEO at Lundbeck Peter Høngaard Andersen confirms the co-operation with Penkowa 2003 til 2004.

»Internally in the company we had been able to reproduce some of her results…«, adding that »during the co-operation we could however not reproduce all the data that came from her laboratory,« he says.

Another Lundbeck source says that the company got »cold feet«, and did not feel comfortable with her.

The actual patent has now expired.

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