Texas cancer agency OK’d $11 million grant without review
Leaders of Texas’ embattled $3 billion cancer-fighting effort approved an $11 million grant to a biomedical company even though the proposal wasn’t reviewed, according to an internal audit that deepens the troubles of a state agency that has been denounced in recent months by some of the world’s top scientists.
The discovery was uncovered during an internal review of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The award to Peloton Therapeutics Inc. in 2010 was among first ever handed out by the agency, and remains one of its largest taxpayer-funded grants to date.
Tim Kutzkey, Peloton’s acting chief executive officer, declined comment and referred questions to the institute. In a statement, the agency said the Dallas-based company was unaware that “CPRIT processes had not been followed.”
The cancer institute is home to the nation’s second largest pot of cancer-research money, behind only the National Institutes of Health, and has awarded nearly $700 million. But it has come under intensifying scrutiny as several scientists, including two Nobel laureates, resigned in protest claiming the agency was charting a new politically driven path that put commercial interests before science.