University of Missouri settles patent case with accused professor Ashim Mitra

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Ashim Mitra resigned last year following this lawsuit. (Image: UMKC School of Pharmacy)

Former pharma professor Ashim Mitra was accused of stealing student research and selling it to a pharma company for $1.5 million, forcing students to work from his home, and lying to the university.

KANSAS CITY, MO

The University of Missouri reached a confidential settlement with Ashim Mitra, a former professor who was accused of stealing a student’s research and selling it to a pharmaceutical company, receiving $1.5 million from the sale and has the potential of earning $10 million more in royalties.

According to The Kansas City Star, the research on development of a drug treatment for a health condition called dry eye would be extremely profitable over time. The lawsuit stated that the patent for the drug did not belong to professor Ashim Mitra or his student but instead to the school. 

In a statement issued Monday, the university stated it had settled its claims regarding Mitra’s interest in the patents confidentially and to its satisfaction. The statement said: “The university has withdrawn and dismissed its claims regarding inventorship and acknowledges the inventors are properly named and that no additional parties should be included as inventors on the patents or patent applications.” The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. 

Other defendants that were involved in the case include companies that were part of the sale and the company marketing the drug known as Cequa. Mitra sold the research to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

The settlement comes after an almost two-year-old lawsuit the University of Missouri System had brought against the former pharmacy professor, who worked at its Kansas City campus, and his wife. The University of Missouri System’s Board of Curators had sued Mitra in March 2019 for stealing intellectual property, concealing his work with industry from the university and then lying about it during recent internal investigation. In addition, the university had investigated the allegation that Mitra coerced graduate students to work at his home.

Mitra had tendered his resignation following this lawsuit.

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