Executives fiddled timesheets to overcharge US funding agency on grants and research contracts
Ansun Biopharma has agreed to pay $2 million (£1.3 million) to settle a criminal and civil case for submitting false and fraudulent claims against grants and a contract with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
From 2004 to 2011, Ansun (formerly known as NexBio) had received several research grants and a $50 million contract to develop Fludase – an experimental influenza drug. According to the settlements, the firm’s former chief executive, Mang Yu, directed the head of the accounting department, Dongmei Wang, to fabricate or alter timesheets for company employees to maximise billing to the NIH. In particular, Yu directed Wang to bill employee hours to the Fludase contract, even for projects that did not fall within the contract scope.
Ansun issued a statement on 8 January emphasising that the misconduct was confined to these two individuals, who both lost their jobs in 2011 shortly after the company became aware of the investigation. ‘[Yu] has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and [Wang] entered into an agreement with the government, which resulted in dismissal of any charges against her,’ Ansun said.