October 2, 2013
Shame on You Doug Macron!
I'm lying here in pain with a bullet hole that goes in one side of me and out the other having
been hit by one of 7 bullets fired from a 45 caliber gun by Hans Petersen from a distance of ~8
feet during his murder attempt on me and my wife, while we and our children were sleeping two
weeks ago. As you know, within hours Petersen committed another brutal attack, shooting the
brother of his estranged wife, a crime police said was related to Petersen’s marital problems. I
remain at an undisclosed location with my family, fearful that Hans Petersen will be released on
bail and come after me and my family again. So with all of this as a backdrop, you have the
audacity to write an article based entirely on false and unsupportable statements made by this
thoroughly discredited person that accuses Curt Bradshaw and I of stealing technology from
Traversa to start Solstice Biologics, and then you attempt to bolster those accusations by
quoting emails written by Hans Petersen and purportedly given to you by his brother.
If Hans Petersen and Scott Petersen think we stole anything from Traversa, which we
emphatically did not, then they should have brought this to the court system long ago, and they
should stop using Facebook and Linkedin postings to make unsubstantiated claims. And Hans
Peterson should certainly not be using violence against me, my family or anyone else. If they
think the work at Solstice is derivative of their work, then the Patent Office and the courts are
where a civilized society takes their disputes, not by trying to kill the other party.
As for your September 26, 2013 article in Gene Silencing News, where you refer to certain
email exchanges between me and Hans Petersen and paraphrase a portion of one stating that
“Dowdy also wrote that a significant amount of the research being conducted on the technology
in his UCSD lab did not belong to Traversa, and indicated that it could be licensed to a company
other than Traversa should it continue to be publicized by Petersen,” I am not certain what you
are trying to imply here. The statement you quote fails to include contextual information with
respect to what Traversa did and did not hold license rights to and what my role as an academic
researcher involves. Here is the missing contextual information that should have been included
in your piece and should have been the subject of diligence with respect to follow up questions
posed to the Petersen’s:
1) Traversa took a license on particular patent applications developed in my UCSD lab during 2006 (SD2006-150 and SD2009-296 concerning certain PTD-DRBD technology and SD2006-
270 concerning certain RNN technology). The UCSD-Traversa License Agreement by its terms
did not grant Traversa any rights on other work in my lab (or any other lab) at UCSD beyond the
referenced applications and continuations, divisions, certain CIPs and foreign counterparts.
2) Traversa did not sponsor any research in my lab at UCSD and therefore Traversa had no
first-rights of refusal on any of my future work.
3) I am an academic researcher and no License Agreement by UCSD to any commercial
licensee includes any obligations on my part or the part of any other personnel at UCSD to stop
doing academic research. Any implication in your article, based upon the email provided you by
Scott Petersen, that my academic work at UCSD should automatically flow to Traversa is
ridiculous and in conflict with the Intellectual Property Policies and Conflict of Interest Policies
that academic researchers function under in all academic institutions I am familiar with.
4) I was party to a Consulting Agreement with Traversa, that agreement contained obligations to
assign intellectual property rights conceived or discovered in the course of me rendering
consulting services to Traversa; it did not cover work performed at my UCSD lab.
5) Because I was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds, I was unavailable to confirm
that I sent the email (scrap of email) you included in your Sept 26 article. I cannot confirm that I
sent the email without seeing it in its entirety. However, the reference to Petersen “continuing to
publicize the technology” was a reference to my concern that he not disclose technology with
respect to which Traversa held no rights and that was being developed in my UCSD lab and
was at a very early stage of development, thus letting the field know what I was working on.
Mr. Macron, you would be well advised to do some basic diligence on the manner in
which academic laboratories make inventions available to private companies, because
the line of arguments that the Petersen brothers are feeding you is just false.
Your September 26, 2013 article in Gene Silencing News, also references a Hans Petersen
email dated May 2013 that he sent to the legal counsel for the Traversa trustee overseeing the
company's bankruptcy proceedings. You state that in this email “Petersen alleged, among other
things, that Dowdy and Traversa CSO Curt Bradshaw declined additional investment in the
company from Dr. Corey Goodman, a pharmaceutical industry veteran and managing partner of
venture capital firm VenBio, in order to intentionally drive the firm into bankruptcy.” As Corey
Goodman of venBio has previously informed you, venBio was never approached by
anyone seeking an investment in Traversa and we did not meet with Dr. Goodman until
April 2012, by which time Traversa had already entered bankruptcy. As a point of fact, I
had never met nor spoken with Dr. Goodman prior to April 2012.
Your September 26, 2013 article in Gene Silencing News, also includes the statement that “As
part of Traversa's bankruptcy proceedings, intellectual property related to the RNN technology,
which had been licensed from UCSD, returned to the institution and relicensed to Dowdy and
Bradshaw for use by the new RNAi drug company they founded, Solstice Biologics.” The
Traversa Board of Directors elected to return the UCSD SD2006-270 patent application to
UCSD in November 2011 to avoid having to pay UCSD a $100,000 fee that Traversa was in
arrears on, as well as a separate fee that would come due to UCSD in February 2012; Traversa
was at this time focused on its PTD-DRBD program and maintained those patents. The return
of the UCSD SD2006-270 patent application to UCSD was not part of the Traversa bankruptcy
proceedings it occurred five months prior to the Traversa bankruptcy filing. When Solstice
Biologics entered into its license with UCSD in December 2012, the SD2006-270 application
and 2 additional UCSD patent applications were licensed to Solstice Biologics. To be concise,
the UCSD SD2006-270 application is not Traversa technology; its UCSD technology that was
licensed to Traversa and then returned to UCSD.
The technology that UCSD licensed to Solstice Biologics was not licensed until December 2012.
It was not even shown to venBio until April 2012 because it had taken me and my UCSD lab of
12+ scientists more than 6 years to resolve the challenges with RNN technology and build a
self-delivering siRNN prototype; only then did we show it to potential investors.
The Solstice Biologics investors spent a significant amount of time and money to diligence the
in-licensed UCSD intellectual property and also in reviewing the patent Scott Petersen patent
application purchased from the Traversa estate before entering into the license and funding of
Solstice Biologics. Based on those analyses, the investors funded Solstice Biologics.
Lastly, have you even considered that your two primary sources are (1) someone who is 3
currently in jail for 3 counts of attempted murder and (2) a sibling who provided emails written by
his brother and who, according to your reports, has made inconsistent claims of ownership to
certain siRNN technology that he later bought from a third party in bankruptcy?
So will you please stop writing these unsubstantiated pieces where Hans Petersen and
Scott Petersen show you selective emails and make ridiculous claims about the pedigree
of the technology that Solstice Biologics licensed from UCSD and call into question my
character and actions and those of Curt Bradshaw?
I give you permission to publish this as is, unedited, under the title of "Steve Dowdy Responds"
Steven F. Dowdy, Ph.D.
Dept. of Cellular & Molecular Medicine
George Palade Laboratories, Room 231B
UCSD School of Medicine
9500 Gilman Drive, MC-0686
La Jolla, CA 92093-0686