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Judge Indicates UCSD Likely To Win In Fight Against USC

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A judge said Friday she will issue a preliminary injunction next week in a lawsuit filed by UC San Diego against the director of a nationwide study on Alzheimer's disease, who resigned abruptly from the university and transferred critical data on the project to the University of Southern California.

UC San Diego sued the director of the Alzheimer's study, Dr. Paul Aisen, eight of his colleagues and USC, accusing them of hijacking the $100 million project that involves several research institutions across the country, some of which are conducting clinical trials for Alzheimer's treatments.

USC effectively took control of the Alzheimer's project last month when Aisen resigned from UC San Diego and was hired to run the study for USC in San Diego.

"It just wasn't handled properly by USC," said Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes.

The judge indicated that UC San Diego likely would prevail on the merits if the case went to trial.

Dan Sharp, representing the UC Board of Regents and UC San Diego, said the Alzheimer's study data that Aisen took to USC should start being restored to the university's computer system beginning next week.

The attorney for USC, Glenn Dassoff, said four of the six major sponsors of the study want the data to remain with USC and Aisen.

Dassoff argued Aisen should remain in control of the database because UC San Diego staff cannot competently manage it.

Aisen "developed the secret sauce," Dassoff said. "He's been managing it for years. And these studies are too important to trust to amateurs."

Sharp called the use of the term "amateurs" offensive, and argued federal grants clearly state the project belongs to UC San Diego.

"It is not Dr. Aisen's personal project," Sharp said.

A final verdict has not yet been reached in the case, but Judge Hayes said Friday, "I'm finding that the proper repository for this data is UCSD."

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