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Closely Intertwined

The relationship between the startup Paige.AI and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has raised eyebrows among physicians and researchers there, the New York Times and ProPublica report.

Paige.AI — founded by David Klimstra, the chair of the center's pathology department, Thomas Fuchs, the head of its computational pathology lab, and Norman Selby, an executive board member there — is applying artificial intelligence tools to healthcare. As the Times reports, the company has an exclusive deal to use MSKCC's archive of 25 million patient slides, for which the center received an equity stake in the company.

According to the Times and ProPublica, physicians and researchers there were concerned about the lack of communication from MSKCC leadership about the deal as well as about how it commercializes patients' health data. It adds that pathologists particularly objected, saying that the deal relies on decades of their work and expertise. Additionally, the Times and ProPublica add that some nonprofit law and corporate governance experts question whether MSKCC complied with laws governing nonprofits in making this deal. MSKCC officials tell the Times that they acted properly.

As the Times and ProPublica looked into the matter, Klimstra said he would divest his ownership stake and Selby said he would donate some of his profits to the center.

This comes on the heels of another Times/ProPublica investigation into the failure of MSKCC's José Baselga to disclose drug and healthcare company ties in scientific papers, which led to his resignation.