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A Chinese professor hailed for his research on antibiotics has been cleared of falsifying his research results.

Sichuan University in Chengdu announced last week it had found no evidence to support the claims made against Qiu Xiao Qing, who is based at the university's West China Hospital.

The allegations were made by the company Sichuan NTC. It has rejected the university's conclusion and is calling on the Chinese government to mount its own inquiry.

In 2003 Qiu and 17 co-authors published a paper in Nature Biotechnology on 'Ph-SA', a protein with antibacterial properties. It was announced as a major breakthrough in antibiotics.

Sichuan NTC paid a licensing fee to produce Ph-SA at a subsidiary of the hospital. But after two years of failed attempts to produce the drug, the company entered a dispute with the hospital that led to the fraud allegations.

Then in December 2005, six of Qiu's co-authors wrote to Nature Biotechnology asking that their names be withdrawn from the paper. Qiu sued two of them for defamation (see Chinese scientist sues co-authors over fraud claims).

He says the experience has put him off the commercial side of science and that he plans not to stray from the laboratory in future.

Link to full article in Science