The current president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has been sued for $1 billion dollars by a cancer center he used to lead for allegedly lying about his rights to discoveries.

The Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, part of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania that is suing Dr. Craig Thompson, who had previously worked for the center for 12 years. The suit alleges that Thompson concealed his involvement with a biotechnology company.

The suit claims that when confronted, Thompson led the Institute to believe that the Institute had no intellectual property rights to discoveries now in dispute. The institute says it does have rights to the discoveries.

There are two co-defendants in the suit. The first is a company Thompson founded in part, Agios Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The second is Celgene Corporation of Summit, New Jersey.

As reported in Science Mag, Celgene recently boosted its investment in Agios to $150 million.

Thompson’ attorney told Science Mag the allegations were unfounded and without merit. An attorney with the Institute pointed to allegations in the lawsuit filed in court.

Thompson became the founding scientific director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute in 1999 and took began leading the Abramson Cancer Center in 2006. The complaint alleges Thompson did not inform the institute when he helped launch a company in 2007, which was later named Agios Pharmaceuticals.

The complaint also says that Thompson was initially coming forth about the possibility that he would form a company based on his work in cancer cell metabolism. In 2007 Thompson reported that his work suggested that the diabetes drug metformin might reduce the risk of cancer, Science Mag reported.

But the lawsuit doesn’t say that Agios was willfully hiding the fact that Thompson was a co-founder. The company publicly stated Thompson was one of the three founders in a press release that was put out in 2009.

A search of Agios's press releases also found that the company in 2008 listed Thompson as a co-founder.

However, the complaint is alleging that Abramson was unaware of Thompsons involvement in Agios and found that in October 2011, a press release stating that Celgene was investing another $20 million in Agios on top of $130 million invested in April 2010 did not show Thompson as a co-founder on the release.

"As a result of Dr. Thompson's concealment, the Institute did not learn of Dr. Thompson's involvement in Agios until late 2011," the complaint reads. The university asked Thompson "whether his association with Agios was a matter that came within the purview of the University's Center for Technology Transfer." Thompson said no, according to the complaint.

The Institute says Thompson "knowingly misrepresented to Agios and Celgene that he had sole ownership of all work funded in part or in whole by the Institute related to the cancer metabolism research platform."