Hospital Researcher Jailed for Stealing and Selling Research Data to China

A female who was employed in a medical research laboratory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH was sent to jail for theft of sensitive research information and offering the information for sale to the People’s Republic of China.

Both Li Chen, 47, and husband Yu Zhou, 50, worked as medical researchers in separate laboratories at the hospital’s Research Institute for over 10 years. The former residents of Dublin, OH were detained in California last July 2019 and they were afterward charged for allegedly stealing advanced scientific research.

Zhou’s work involves a new method that permitted the isolation of exosomes from small amounts of blood. Exosomes are utilized in the investigation, recognition, and treatment of a number of health conditions, like necrotizing enterocolitis. The new exosome isolation technique was an essential procedure in the research of necrotizing enterocolitis, as the illness impacts premature babies and just a little blood samples may be extracted safely.

The husband and wife established an organization in China, stole no less than five trade secrets associated with exosome isolation, and then made money from the trade secrets by making exosome isolation kits and selling them. They then offered them to China and got rewards from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs. Chen additionally applied to a number of government talent programs in China, which are utilized to transmit overseas research and technology to China.

Chen pleaded guilty in July 2020 to conspiring to commit wire fraud and stealing scientific trade secrets for her personal financial gain. Chen was lately sentenced to a 30-month imprisonment term and, had to pay $2.6 million in compensation, and lose approximately $1.4 million, 400 shares of common stock of GenExosome Technologies Inc. and 500,000 shares of common stock of Avalon GloboCare Corp. Zhou additionally pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and is still waiting for his sentence.

The FBI will not cease to know who are the people who steal technology for their personal financial gain or for a foreign government’s benefit.

Chinese Government Focuses on Health and Genetic Information of U.S. Citizens

China isn’t just attempting to acquire sensitive medical research information. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has noted the initiatives by China to get the healthcare information and DNA sets of Americans by means of cyberattacks, and ventures between Chinese organizations and U.S. states and healthcare companies.

National Security regulations in China call for all Chinese organizations to share any information they gather with the government. In accordance with the NCSC, by 2019, 15 Chinese organizations were licensed to perform genetic testing or genetic sequencing on American patients. They got access to genetic information that may have been given to China’s government.

The NSCS mentioned genetic and healthcare information is being utilized to improve China’s AI and precision medicine sectors, however foreign firms are kept from obtaining the medical information of their own citizens. With time, this dynamic may enable China to overtake U.S. biotech companies with vital new drugs and health remedies and possibly displace American companies as global biotech frontrunners,” noted by NCSC in its February 2021 report.