Findings of Genentech Review
Earlier today, Genentech published its Findings of 2023 Genentech Review of 2009 Nature Paper and Related Research. Genentech issued its findings following a comprehensive investigation, which included interviews of more than 35 current and former Genentech employees and an extensive review of documents, including laboratory notebooks, meeting minutes and e-mails. I am not surprised by Genentech’s report, which directly and unequivocally refutes the false and hearsay rumors concerning the 2009 Nature paper and related research. When the allegations were first published on February 17, I posted a statement on my laboratory website stating that I was confident that a full airing of the facts would vindicate my position. Today’s report from Genentech does just that.
Although the Genentech report largely speaks for itself, I do wish to add two brief comments.
First, the report discusses variability in a set of results in the paper. It is important to emphasize that the majority of the results, including the binding of DR6 to full-length APP, are correct and have withstood the test of time (as reflected in this pictorial). The report about variability relates specifically to binding of DR6 to the N-APP fragment. There was indeed discussion about differences seen in binding with various preparations of N-APP and DR6, but it is quite common for proteins prepared in different ways (for example in mammalian versus non-mammalian cells) to behave differently. Importantly, at the time of publication, independent Genentech scientists were very clear that they saw binding of DR6 and N-APP made in mammalian cells (the relevant cell type), in line with the cell-based data produced in my laboratory. Not only did they report this, but they provided quantitative binding data that were included in the paper, and for which they were acknowledged in the paper. In subsequent years, attempts were made to understand the variability seen with different preparations. This was finally resolved as described in Olsen et al. (2014).
Second, the Genentech report also refers to an incident in 2010 involving another post-doctoral fellow working in my lab. I will not comment in additional detail on that personnel matter, other than to note that I was the one who referred the matter to the Genentech legal department.
President, Stanford University
Bing Presidential Professor and Head of the Tessier-Lavigne Laboratory at Stanford University