A Chinese scientist who lives in San Diego and is working to develop an mRNA cancer vaccine gave her scientist husband security data from her employer so he can “continue” his own vaccine research at his lab in China, a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Southern California federal court alleges.
Last May, Chenyan Wu arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a flight from Shanghai with about 1,000 tubes of undeclared, improperly packaged and unlabeled centrifuges containing research samples, clearly stated. Wu’s luggage also contained “multiple containers of laboratory chemicals,” which border agents believe “potentially dangerous.”
When the FBI interviewed Wu, he told agents that he had run a cancer research company in China for the past 10 years called TheraMab, according to the lawsuit. Wu and his wife, Lianchun Chen, have a home in San Diego, and Wu explains that he’s retired from China to continue his cancer research at a new lab he plans to set up in California.
At the time, Wu and Chen had been in the federal eye for more than a year, according to the lawsuit. In December 2019, the FBI “found a Powerpoint presentation on the mobile phone of Defendant China, who had previously committed an export control violation,” the lawsuit against Wu and Chen states. “The presentation is in Mandarin. Once translated, the cover of the brochure reads: ‘TheraMab mRNA cancer vaccine project,’ presented by Chenyan Wu. The presentation outlined TheraMab’s company structure and investment plans as well as a summary of its mRNA research process. ”
Wu used proprietary research from an unnamed company that Chen improperly disclosed, according to the feds. Both Wu and Chen are facing one charge for making false statements about confidential data. Wu was also charged with smuggling, which stemmed from the Sea-Tac incident.
High requirements for pharmaceutical trade secrets. Last month, Pfizer files lawsuit against employee Chun Xiao Li, accused the deputy director of statistics of stealing more than 12,000 files and classified documents, including those related to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, as she was about to go to work with a competitor. This early year, Merck .’s director of immunological oncology to be arrested for allegedly stealing “Thousands of files contain [Merck’s] proprietary information, including research protocols, aggregated data, [and] strategy plan. In July, two former Genentech scientists, Xanthe and Allen Lam, pleaded guilty to stealing company secrets involved in a series of cancer and cystic fibrosis drugs, and disclosed them to a Taiwanese biotech startup that Xanthe had secretly worked for.
During a search of Wu’s email account, FBI agents “identified multiple emails” between Wu and his wife, Lianchun Chen, over a period of nearly five years. Some of the notices included documents marked “CONTINUOUS” by a company identified in the complaint as “Company A.”
In one case, Wu allegedly sent a message to Chen via his Hotmail account, saying, “I need new vector sequences and [sic] copied. “Chen responded with a Microsoft Word document that “includes DNA sequence data consistent with research Chen performed for Company A at the time,” the complaint states.
In another case, Wu allegedly received PowerPoint attachments and Word documents from Chen to his Hotmail account, which he then forwarded to his TheraMab email. PowerPoint is titled “PCR Results with Q5 and Pfx,” and is marked “[Company A] CONFIDENTIAL,” according to the complaint. The Word document is titled “Weekly Work Updates May 21-27” and includes “updates on Chen’s work… over the past week and the work Chen plans to achieve next week.”
The third example presented by prosecutors allegedly contained a PowerPoint presentation from Company A’s Vaccine Research & Development unit, which was also marked “CONFIRMED”.
“Company A is investigating whether the attachments in these emails qualify as trade secrets,” the complaint states. “A representative of Company A noted that the work that Chen and her team are conducting at Company A will be extremely helpful to Wu’s joint TheraMab mRNA vaccine development project.”
The company confirmed that Chen worked there from 2011 to September 9, 2021 and “conducted cancer vaccine research on mRNA”. Wu also worked for the company in the UK from 1999 to 2010, but did not work on mRNA research, according to the complaint. Company officials told the FBI that the attachment Chen sent Wu “reflects some of the work” she has done for the company.
Chen has been “involved heavily in…mRNA cancer research,” developing proprietary DNA vectors for use in vaccines, the record continues. Company A employees, including Chen, receive annual training on the importance of confidentiality in their research,” it said. “However, Chen may have downloaded confidential Company A information onto a thumb drive, printed out copies, or taken a picture of that information with her phone and deleted it from the facility.”
In late 2019, Chen allegedly sent a text message in Chinese to an unnamed recipient. According to an FBI translation, it reads: “Do you have friends who are interested in investing in drug production? My husband is looking for investors. He designed a drug that uses RNA to treat cancer. Animal test results are pretty good. More money is needed to move forward. Contact me if you want to know more. ”
When unionists interviewed Chen in April 2020 at the San Diego home she shares with Wu, she denied authoring the research paper FBI agents found on her cell phone. Wu’s move. Agents warn her that lying to a federal agent is a felony. Still, Chen maintains that mRNA vaccines are not her area of expertise and that open source information on mRNAs is available in published articles, the complaint adds, adding that she “acknowledges that Her team at Company A is working on an mRNA project but has minimized her role. ”
Chen said she “only did a small part of the project and did not conduct any research or analysis,” it continued. “She insisted that she was only working on the molecular structure/DNA part, in the early stages. Once she’s done her part, the research is passed on to others to take the next step. She did not review the results of the program trials and was not involved in the development of any of the studies. She insists that she did not disclose any research to Wu. “
FBI agents questioned Wu at least three times, according to the lawsuit. He claims to have collected all his research and knowledge about mRNA vaccines from public sources. From 2017 on, Wu developed a “generic vaccine, while Company A’s mRNA project focused on a specific cancer,” the complaint said. He told the agents that Chen had not shared any information with him about Company A’s research, and in addition – she “didn’t have the skills or training to work on the mRNA project.” by TheraMab.”
Wu and Chen have not yet had an attorney listed in court filings and could not be reached for comment.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/chinese-scientist-lianchun-chen-slipped-cancer-vax-secrets-to-hubby-chenyan-wu-for-his-lab-feds-allege?source=articles&via=rss Chinese scientist Lianchun Chen revealed the secret of Vax cancer to Hubby Chenyan Wu to his lab, Feds Allege