Update – see below for more on this story. GSK has reacted quickly. . .
Now this seems rather odd. According to Xconomy, two former Sirtris higher-ups have formed a nonprofit foundation which is selling resveratrol online.
Michelle Dipp, a Sirtris-turned-Glaxo executive, confirmed that the nonprofit that she and former Sirtris CEO Christoph Westphal co-founded last year has started online sales of resveratrol. Dipp leads the effort on the off hours when she isn’t doing her main job as senior vice president of Glaxo’s Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery.
While the group is charging $540 for a one-year supply of resveratrol, Dipp says that the nonprofit is selling the supplements for cost and is not profiting from the sales.
And thanks to Hatch-Waxman, since this is being offered as a “dietary supplement”, hey, it can go straight into people – people with $540, anyway:
To be clear, this resveratrol operation is a volunteer effort that Dipp and Westphal do on the side. Both are still employees of Glaxo, and they have also started a Boston venture firm called Longwood Founders Fund with fellow Sirtris co-founder Rich Aldrich.
“Our main business is brining new drugs to patients through our work at Longwood and (Glaxo),” says Dipp, who is president of the Healthy Lifespan Institute. “But there was so much demand for (resveratrol).”
I really don’t know what to make of this. This formulation of resveratrol would appear to be basically SRT501, which has been involved in a number of clinical trials (and unexpectedly dropped out of one not too long ago). I can’t recall another case where an investigational drug has also been sold as a dietary supplement, by some of the same people, who are working both for the company funding the trials and for a nonprofit foundation. I mean, what if GSK/Sirtris find a clinically relevant use for resveratrol? Why buy it from them if you can get it at cost? Or would all that change if SRT501 gets FDA approval? Makes a person’s head hurt, it does. . .
Update – GSK has now asked Dipp and Westphal to resign from their institute, saying that they didn’t realize that they were selling resveratrol. That didn’t take long!