In STAT News’ reporting on biotech company Athira Pharma’s legal problems, Phillips & Cohen partner Edward Arens explains that using false information in federal grant applications may violate the False Claims Act.
“If a company is seeking a grant from, say, the NIH and they’re doing so on the basis of false records or statements, that’s absolutely potentially actionable,” Edward Arens, a whistleblower attorney and partner with Phillips & Cohen LLP in San Francisco, told STAT.
Papers published by key personnel are relevant to the False Claims Act as they reflect on the integrity of proposed research, said Arens. Athira could be liable for damages if the NIH would have reasonably changed its mind to award the grant had it known about the allegedly false or manipulated data published by its chief executive, said Arens.
“The issue here is whether the company’s citations could have affected the way NIH viewed its grant applications, the fact the CEO was involved in the research would have affected how NIH viewed the application, all of that goes into a wholistic inquiry that looks to whether this is something that moves the needle for NIH in deciding whether to pay the company,” he said.
Read the entire article, “Athira cited altered studies in $15 million NIH grant application, creating legal risk,” in STAT News.