GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) has fired a scientist at its China R&D site after an internal investigation found that data in a research paper was misrepresented and should be retracted.

The information from GSK’s China research center appeared in the article “Crucial role of interleukin-7 in T helper type 17 survival and expansion in autoimmune disease,” which was published in Nature Medicine in 2010. GSK said its internal inquiry was sparked after it it “recently became aware of allegations of misrepresentation of data” in the research paper written by scientists as its China research center.

“The integrity of our research is critical to our work and when these allegations came to light we immediately contacted the journal to tell them that we were taking the charges seriously and would be investigating thoroughly,” GSK said in a statement.

The data in question was from a published study regarding early stage, preclinical research. No patients were directly involved.
GSK said that it has shared its conclusion with Nature Medicine that certain information was misrepresented and the paper should be retracted. GSK said it has asked the authors to sign a statement acknowledging that data was misrepresented as part of Nature Medicine’s procedure for a retraction. In addition to firing one scientist, GSK said a second person has submitted his resignation and three others have been placed on administrative leave, pending a final review.

The pharmaceutical news blog Pharmalot, which reported the internal investigation last week, confirmed that the dismissed scientist is Jingwu Zang, one of the listed author’s of the research paper. GSK told Pharmalot that his responsibilities have been assigned to others at the R&D site.

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