Friday, March 18, 2005

March 19, 2005

The Lancet
London, United Kingdom

Dear Editor:

Today's edition of The Lancet has an article, Infection with multidrug resistant, dual tropic HIV-1 and rapid progression to AIDS: a case report, and one of the co-authors, Mr. Christos Petropoulos, didn't fully disclose his competing interests.

Petropoulos holds two patents for ViroLogic AIDS drug resistance inventions, which were an integral component to the article.

The Lancet published this statement accompanying the article of concern to me:

"Conflict of interest statement: D D Ho has been a paid adviser to ViroLogic since its inception in 1995, and has a brother who is an employee at the company. T Wrin, N Parking, and C Petropoulos are ViroLogic employees who hold stocks or stock options in the company. No other co-author has a conflict of interest."

However your competing interest policy states:

"Examples of financial conflicts include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications, and travel grants, all within 3 years of beginning the work submitted."

The two excerpts below are from patent applications filed by Petropoulos with the United State Patent and Trade Office. You can locate the full patent information at


Inventors: Capon; Daniel (Hillsborough, CA); Petropoulos; Christos J. (Half Moon Bay, CA)
Assignee: ViroLogic, Inc. (S. San Francisco, CA)
Appl. No.: 790963
Filed: January 29, 1997

"Compositions and methods for determining anti-viral drug susceptibility and resistance and anti-viral drug screening"

"This invention provides a method for determining susceptibility for an anti-viral drug comprising: (a) introducing a resistance test vector comprising a patient-derived segment and an indicator gene into a host cell; (b) culturing the host cell from (a); (c) measuring expression of the indicator gene in a target host cell; and (d) comparing the expression of the indicator gene from (c) with the expression of the indicator gene measured when steps (a)-(c) are carried out in the absence of the anti-viral drug, wherein a test concentration of the anti-viral drug is present at steps (a)-(c); at steps (b)-(c); or at step (c). This invention also provides a method for determining anti-viral drug resistance in a patient comprising: (a) determining anti-viral drug susceptibility in the patient at a first time using the susceptibility test described above, wherein the patient-derived segment is obtained from the patient at about said time; (b) determining anti-viral drug susceptibility of the same patient at a later time; and (c) comparing the anti-viral drug susceptibilities determined in step (a) and (b), wherein a decrease in anti-viral drug susceptibility at the later time compared to the first time indicates development or progression of anti-viral drug resistance in the patient. This invention also provides a method for evaluating the biological effectiveness of a candidate anti-viral drug compound. Compositions including resistance test vectors comprising a patient-derived segment and an indicator gene and host cells transformed with the resistance test vectors are provided."


Inventors: Petropoulos; Christos J. (Half Moon Bay, CA); Whitcomb; Jeannette (San Mateo, CA)
Assignee: ViroLogic, Inc. (South San Francisco, CA)
Appl. No.: 339357
Filed: June 23, 1999

"Means and methods for monitoring nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor antiretroviral therapy and guiding therapeutic decisions in the treatment of HIV/AIDS"

"This invention relates to antiviral drug susceptibility and resistance tests to be used in identifying effective drug regimens for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and further relates to the means and methods of monitoring the clinical progression of HIV infection and its response to antiretroviral therapy, particularly nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy using phenotypic susceptibility assays or genotypic assays."

Furthermore, another co-author of The Lancet's article, Dr. David Ho of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, hold six AIDS-related patents on various inventions, and his research center has four such patents on file with the United States Patent and Trade Office. Information on these patents is attached.

I formally request that you consider publishing an editor's note in The Lancet calling readers' attention to the patents held by Petropoulos, Ho and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center.

A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA, USA
Ph: 415-621-6267

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