In Reply I appreciate the comments of Dr Bennett, the inventor of the gene therapy being studied by Spark Therapeutics. I very much respect, and even admire, her decision to waive royalties, and her choice to have no equity, stock options, or consulting payments related to her invention. While the focus of the Viewpoint was institutional conflict of interest, not personal, she has clarified her own financial choices related to the research. I might note that there is nothing she can do to remove what is probably the most worrisome source of conflict of interest, which is a strong belief in the validity and importance of her invention. The scientific process was created to deal with conflicts of this sort, and the strategies that the investigators have selected, such as using masked external groups to act as outcome reviewers, are excellent options.
McKinney RE. Institutional Conflict of Interest—Reply. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134(11):1335. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.3250
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