Dr. Rochelle Walensky Busted in Massive Conflict-of-Interest Scandal

Dr. Rochelle Walensky Busted in Massive Conflict-of-Interest Scandal

Becker News

In an eye-opening exclusive published at RedState, a publication where I have previously contributed, Scott Hounsell has a pretty explosive tidbit about current CDC Director Rochelle Walensky worth reading in full. It adds an outstanding glimpse into the seedy world of biomedical cash-grabbing schemes that have become commonplace at America’s once-prestigious ‘public health’ agencies.

Hounsell is uniquely qualified to lay out the issues involved with CDC Director Walensky’s glaring conflict-of-interest concerning her husband, a pediatric oncology researcher, given his background in grant writing. What he has found, thanks in part to a tip from radio host Howie Carr, is disturbing.

New information provided exclusively to RedState by syndicated radio talk show host Howie Carr shows that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is finding multiple ways to benefit from her new position. Walensky, who took over as director with Biden’s inauguration, is married to Loren D. Walensky, a renowned pediatric oncology researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard. In October 2019 Loren Walensky became the scientific co-founder and a member of the Board of Directors of Lytica Therapeutics, “an early-stage biotechnology company working on an innovative platform for developing next-generation antimicrobials.” (LabCentral)

Just four months later, Walensky’s Lytica received a $16.9 million dollar HHS grant to “develop antibacterial peptides with broad activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria.”  Only $5.3 million of that money was initially disbursed to Lytica, and the remaining $11.6 million is scheduled to be disbursed upon the achievement of “certain development milestones.” I have previously worked in the world of grant writing and can tell you most agencies will not give grants to organizations that have existed for less than a year and organizations that have no other stream of funding. In this particular case Crunchbase, which monitors funding for corporations and non-profits, shows that the only funding that Lytica has received to date is the $5.3 million allocated from the grant received.

Again, the only funding this new company has received to date – nearly two years after its founding – is the $5.3 million allocated from the HHS grant.

The RedState piece notes that the grant was “funded and organized by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees and administers the Biomedical Advanced and Development Authority (BARDA) program, which is similar to the PREDICT program at the center of Wuhan Institute of Virology gain-of-function research controversy. The Lytica Therapeutics grant was provided through BARDA’s CARB-X program.” According to the website:

BARDA plays a critical role in the federal government’s National Action Plan for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), 2020-2025. Because making new antibiotics is difficult, expensive, and low profit for innovative companies, BARDA supports the world’s largest antibacterial portfolio through public-private partnerships. These partnerships incentivize companies to focus on antibiotic development by providing non-dilutive funding to offset high research and development (R&D) costs and technical assistance to reduce R&D risk.

Projects funded by CARB-X, the group states, “are in the early stages of research, and there is always a high risk of failure,” the author notes, thus drawing more suspicion over the ready disbursement.

As Scott Hounsell points out, Walensky received the grant before his wife became the CDC director, but she had a long history with Health and Human Services, including having been the chart of the Office of Aids Research Advisory Council, where she associated with Dr. Anthony Fauci. While some “insiders” were a bit surprised that Dr. Rochelle Walensky was appointed to CDC director, it should come as no surprise that Fauci was largely behind it:

Biden’s transition team conducted a wide search for a new CDC director, and Walensky’s name was mentioned by several people, according to an official familiar with the process. For some, she was a surprise choice. Yet among those recommending her was Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is serving as a medical adviser to Biden.

“One of the key people we talked to was Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Fauci really believed that Dr. Walensky was the right person to lead the CDC, so that was obviously an important recommendation,” [Biden transition co-chair Jeff] Zients said. “In Dr. Walensky, we were able to find someone with the experience and the background to lead the CDC and that turnaround.”

The story notes that: “Two top NIAID officials, one of whom worked closely with Director Walensky in the HIV/AIDS research arena, serve on CARB-X’s Joint Oversight Committee, which selects which applicants will receive grants through a competitive process.”

Walensky’s grant cannot be found in her financial disclosures from January 2021. Dr. Walensky only lists her husband’s stake in Lytica Therapeutics as a “spousal holding,” but doesn’t indicate that he is the “co-founder” of the company and his invention would benefit from the CARB-X grant.

There is a further conflict of interest in that Walensky was being appointed to a leadership position in an agency that would have significant influence on the decision about whether or not to award the additional $11.6 million.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s apparent conflict of interest is indicative of the rampant backroom sidedeals that have become prevalent in public health institutions and have transformed them into little more than sales departments for Big Pharma.

Dr. Walensky, at a minimum, needs to be intensively and critically questioned about this alleged conflict-of-interest, preferrably in public at her next Congressional hearing. The stipulation being that her testimony is given under oath, and there are actual consequences for any further substantiation of unethical behavior.


(TLB) published this article from Becker News as compiled and written by Kyle Becker

Header featured image (edited) credit:  Walensky/orginal BN article

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors



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