NIH NCATS Director Resigns
From Trial Site News:
The director of NCATS (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), Christopher P Austin, who is allegedly an emphatic proponent of drug repurposing, resigned last week, just as his group was getting ready to announce that $155 million trial on … repurposed drugs.
For the past 14 months, there have been no repurposed drugs approved by the NIH. The whole timing of this resignation is very curious. Is the resignation of Dr Austin because he was being
a) forced out to push this process forward? Or
b) resigning in some sort of silent protest at 14 months of stonewalling inside the organization? Or
c) scared of being held responsible for the utter lack of progress in this area and he is fleeing in advance of some expected investigation into malfeasance at NIH?
Trial Site News wades into the issue in the article, below, but in truth, there is no answer revealed, only questions asked.
Is the Departure of NCATS Director Indicative of NIH’s Repurposing Track Record During the Pandemic?
TrialSite recently went on the record that a major clinical program announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the “ACTIVE” program, while appreciated, was in many ways too late—this announcement should have occurred by last summer of 2020 at the latest. Instead, billions of taxpayer dollars were marshalled into the Accelerating COVID‑19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public–private partnership, with an overwhelming focus on vaccines and novel therapeutics as TrialSite has been nearly alone in chronicling. But for nearly a year now, a growing numbers of front line physicians argue that care needed to happen in the clinic—and fast! While NIH director Francis Collins recently acknowledged that “While we’re doing a good job with treating hospitalized patients with severe disease, we don’t currently have an approved medication that can be self-administered to ease symptoms of people suffering from mild disease at home, and reduce the chance of their needing hospitalization,” it most certainly took a long time, and a lot of suffering to get to this point. That is, to acknowledge that the ACTIV program needed a major repurposed clinical drug research program targeting COVID-19. It’s ironic that just now, when the NIH via ACTIV announces a major, $155 million-backed clinical program for repurposed drugs targeting COVID-19—led by the the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the NIH—that this organization’s director, a emphatic proponent of drug repurposing, simply resigned. That’s right; on April 15, the NCATS Director, Christopher P. Austin, a known advocate for repurposed drug research, formally called it a day. The departure was actually announced a month earlier by Director Collins. But it seemed odd that Austin would move on right at the time that a major repurposing program would be led by his organization. Why would he do this? What kinds of tensions underlie the nation’s biomedical research institute, one that’s so vital to the nation and world’s future? What’s behind the lack of progress in repurposing drug trials in the pandemic? What can we collectively learn to improve how we respond to pandemics?
Regardless of which it is, I think this event is – probably – salutary. Either Dr Austin can now tell us all WTF has been going on behind the scenes in his new tell-all-book (glass-half-full – he’s my whistleblower!), or he’s been stonewalling the whole process, and his departure might end up leading to the approval of things such as ivermectin.
From this far away, I can’t possibly know. But any change, in such a horribly disfunctional organization, simply can’t possibly be any worse than the obstructionist – systemically sociopathic – anti-human – pro-Pharma-profits policies we’ve seen to date.
A clue would be where he lands. At Big Pharma? Revolving door.
I have my fingers crossed that this has to do with Dr. Kory’s presentation this afternoon….
Wouldn’t it be fun to have a good scandal today?
Sadly, the most likely outcomes—to me—are:
- He resigned out of protest, and will still remain silent for fear of repercussions.
- He is transferring to a high paying job in big pharma after a year of service to them.
I am seeing a shift in mainstream news in recent months. They are less afraid to speak of therapeutics.
The stories usually only speak of on patent drugs. They usually of them as though they are the first effective drugs we have heard of.
Now we are seeing trials of outpatient treatments. Someone here talked about one in the US. I read about an upcoming UK trial today.
The timing fits the big pharma influence theory. They don’t want even their own patented drugs to interfere with the vaccine profits, but the vaccines are generally accepted and well on their way to being fully rolled out. Too late to stop them and these new drug announcements and trials will take months to bear any fruit.
One article urged the need for therapeutics on top of vaccines. That makes sense, but why are they only recently saying that?
I think it’s because they want the vaccines to be paid for before they roll out anything that might negate the need for them. After that, pushing their patented drugs is the next profit strategy.
It also explains the continued virus fear porn despite the US clearly being on its way out of the pandemic. Doctors won’t stockpile patented tocilizumab (Roche) and molnupiravir (Merck) if no one is afraid of getting infected anymore.
Announced over a month ago that he has been appointed CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering a biotech Venture Capital firm based in Cambridge MA.This is the same firm who provided seed money for Moderna among others.
Right on NIH website. No shame. Announce to the whole organization, it is time for me to cash in in the private sector.
“It is with immense gratitude and sincere best wishes that I announce National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D. will be departing NIH. His last day will be April 15, 2021. After nearly a decade of bold leadership as the founding director of NCATS, Chris will become CEO-partner at Flagship Pioneering, a life science platforms company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
Confirming Flagship Pioneering invested in Moderna:
Dave, this is not the saint you/we are looking for …