Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Loose lips sink paper on company’s experimental pain drug

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A bit of intellectual property indiscretion has led to the retraction of a paper by Korean scientists. Although the details are fuzzy, several of the authors are affiliated with a Korean pharma company called SK.

The paper, “A Novel Carbamoyloxy Arylalkanoyl Arylpiperazine Compound (SKL-NP) Inhibits Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated (HCN) Channel Currents in Rat Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons,” was published in the The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology earlier this year.

According to the retraction notice:

We would like to request a retraction of our paper [1] entitled, “A novel carbamoyloxy arylalkanoyl arylpiperazine compound (SKL-NP) inhibits hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channel currents in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons” by Gehoon Chung, Tae-hyung Kim, Hyewon Shin, Eunhee Chae, Hanju Yi, Hongsik Moon, Hyun Jin Kim, Joong Soo Kim, Seog Bae Oh, from The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology. Vol 16 (4) 237-241, 2012.

We regret to inform that the published paper included a few parts that disclosed confidential information which should have been protected under patent law. We admit that the request for retraction is due to the indiscretion of the authors, and confirmed that editorial committee of KJPP have not conducted any fault in publishing the paper.

SK Biopharmaceuticals — “For the healthy future of our customers” — focuses on diseases of the central nervous system and metabolic ailments. The company has several products for neuropathic pain that are in early stages of development, including SKL-NP. The company describes the compound as

a novel and non-sedating analgesics for neuropathic pain. Through Phase I studies, SKL-NP demonstrated good PK, safety and tolerability. To prove its excellent efficacy potential in humans, SK is planning for POC (proof of concept) studies in various neuropathic pain indications.

Interestingly, despite having company authorship, the paper did not note any industry funding. Instead, the acknowledgement statement merely says:

This work was supported by the research fund of Hanyang University.

Comments
  • Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) October 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Well that’s ridiculous. All they’ve achieved by retracting it is that they’ve drawn more attention to it & the fact that it contains spicy details. Should have left it alone and hoped noone noticed.

    • Toby White November 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

      A retraction in that form was probably necessary to prevent the article being cited as prior art against a patent application. No idea whether that strategy actually works — it’s not my area — but it makes sense. Even if no one else noticed, SK would have a duty to inform the patent examiner of relevant prior art, so any breach of confidentiality would have to be dealt with clearly and openly.

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