February 2, 2022

Introduction

This Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (this “Policy”) describes certain legal

obligations applicable to Investigators’ disclosure of potential financial conflicts of

interest (“FCOI”). The purpose of this policy is to comply with applicable law and to

ensure the objectivity of the research conducted by GeneCentrix, Inc.

(“GeneCentrix”), its employees, contractors, and consultants.

Investigators applying for and working on Public Health Services (“PHS”), National

Institutes of Health (“NIH”), or National Science Foundation (“NSF”) funded research

must disclose significant financial interests that are related to the Investigator’s

institutional responsibilities. Investigators are all persons, regardless of title or position,

who are responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research proposed for

funding by the PHS, NIH, or NSF (the foregoing agencies, together with any other

organizations providing funding through grant or contract to which the regulations

contemplated herein apply, collectively, the “Funding Agencies”), including

collaborators or consultants. This policy provides the framework to identify, evaluate

and correct or remove real, apparent and potential conflicts of interest.

This policy requires that each investigator, subrecipient, subgrantee and collaborator

affiliated with GeneCentrix on a Funding Agency project be in compliance with 42 CFR

Part 50, Subpart F for grants and cooperative agreements (and 45 CFR Part 94 for

contracts). In addition, this legislation spells out NIH’s commitment to preserving the

public’s trust that the research supported by them is conducted without bias and with

the highest scientific and ethical standards. GeneCentrix intends to use this same

FCOI standard for all other Federal agency grant and contract efforts, as tailored or

amended accordingly.

With respect to subrecipients, GeneCentrix shall establish, via a written agreement,

whether a subrecipient will follow the FCOI policy of GeneCentrix or the FCOI policy of

the subrecipient. If applicable, GeneCentrix shall obtain a certification from a

subrecipient that its FCOI policy complies with the applicable regulation. If applicable,

GeneCentrix shall include in the written subrecipient agreement a requirement for the

subrecipient to report identified FCOIs for its Investigators in a time frame that allows

GeneCentrix to report identified FCOIs to the applicable Funding Agencies as required

by the regulation. Alternatively, if applicable, GeneCentrix shall include in the written

agreement a requirement to solicit and review subrecipient Investigator disclosures

that enable GeneCentrix to identify, manage and report identified FCOIs to the

Funding Agency. 

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this policy:

Funded Research” means any research funded by a Funding Agency.

“Investigator” means any person (including subrecipients, subgrantees and

collaborators) who is responsible for the design, conduct or reporting of research

funded by a Funding Agency.

Training Requirement” means training related to Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)

and required under law. All GeneCentrix Investigators and all defined sub-level

vendors are required to complete the Training Requirement. If any conflicts of interest

are found or known, they must be disclosed. The training must be updated no less

frequently than every four years or as designated based on grant or role

circumstances. Information and other resources developed by NIH will be updated as

appropriate and can be accessed through the NIH Web site:

(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi/tutorial2011/fcoi.htm).

Significant financial interest” means a financial interest consisting of one or more of

the following interests of the investigator (including those of the investigator’s spouse

and dependent children) that reasonable appears to be related to the Investigator’s

institutional responsibilities:

1. With regard to any publicly-traded entity, a significant financial interest exists if

the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months

preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of

the date of disclosure, when aggregated exceeds $5,000. For the purposes of

this definition, remuneration includes salary and any payment for services not

otherwise identified as salary (e.g. consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship);

equity interest in stock, stock options or other ownership interest, as determined

through reference to public prices and other reasonable measures of fair market

value;

2. With regard to any privately held entity, a significant financial interest exists if

the value of any remunerations from the entity in the twelve months preceding

the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000, or when the Investigator (or

the Investigator’s spouse or dependent children) holds any equity interests (e.g.

stock, stock options, or other ownership interest); or

3. Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g. patents, copyrights), upon receipt

of income related to such rights and interests.

With respect to Significant Financial Interest, Investigators also must disclose (and

such disclosure shall constitute an SFI Disclosure, defined below) the occurrence of

any reimbursed or sponsored travel (i.e., that which is paid on behalf of the

Investigator and not reimbursed to the Investigator so that the exact monetary value

may not be readily available) related to their institutional responsibilities; provided,

however, that this disclosure requirement does not apply to travel that is reimbursed or

sponsored by a federal , state or local government agency, an institution of higher

education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, medical

center, or research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education. This

disclosure will include, at a minimum, the purpose of the trip, the identity of the

sponsor/organizer, the destination, and the duration. Upon receipt of this disclosure,

the Policy Coordinator will determine if further information is  needed, including a

determination or disclosure of monetary value, in order to determine whether the travel

constitutes a FCOI with the Funding Agency research.

The term Significant Financial Interest does not include the following types of financial

interests: salaries, royalties or other remuneration paid by GeneCentrix to the

Investigator if the Investigator is currently employed or otherwise appointed by

GeneCentrix, including intellectual property rights assigned to GeneCentrix and

agreements to share in royalties related to such rights; any ownership interest in the

Institution held by the investigator; income from investment vehicles, such as mutual

funds and retirements accounts, as long as the Investigator does not directly control

the investment decisions made in these vehicles; income from seminars, lectures or

teaching engagements sponsored by a federal , state or local government agency, an

institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching

hospital, a medical center, research institute that is affiliated with an institution of

higher education; or income from service on advisory committees or review panels for

a federal, state or local government agency, an institution of higher education as

defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a

research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.

A ”Financial Conflict of Interest” or “FCOI” exists when GeneCentrix reasonably

determines that a significant financial interest could directly and significantly affect the

design, conduct or reporting of Funded Research.

 

An “SFI Disclosure” is a report that each Investigator shall submit: (a) annually to the

Policy Coordinator; (b) in the event of certain sponsored travel, as set forth in the

definition of “significant financial interest,” above; (c) within thirty (30) days of an

Investigator discovering or acquiring any significant financial interest; and (d) no later

than at the time of application for PHS-funded research.

Management” of an FCOI means taking action to address a FCOI, which can include

reducing or eliminating the FCOI, to ensure, to the extent possible, that the design,

conduct, and reporting of Funded Research will be free from bias.

An “Awarding Component” is the applicable sub-agency of a Funding Agency.

Disclosures/Reporting/Determination Process

Each Investigator shall submit SFI Disclosures to the Policy Coordinator as follows:

1. An updated general SFI Disclosure annually;

2. promptly in the event of certain sponsored travel, as set forth in the definition

of “significant financial interest,” above;

3. within thirty (30) days of an Investigator discovering or acquiring any

significant financial interest; and

4. no later than at the time of application for PHS-funded research.

Additionally, the Policy Coordinator shall solicit SFI Disclosures from each investigator,

if applicable, during a reasonable period of time preceding the commencement of any

research conducted hereunder.

Prior to the expenditure of funds, the Policy Coordinator will review each SFI

Disclosure and determine if any SFIs relate to funded research, determine if an FCOI

exists, and develop and implement management plans as needed to manage FCOIs.

In determining whether an Investigator’s SFI is related to funded research, and if so

related, whether the SFI is an FCOI, the Policy Coordinator shall consider all available

evidence in light of the following concepts, in addition to any other concepts the Policy

Coordinator may reasonably consider:

Protected Interests

  •  Research integrity

  •  Safety of human subjects

  •  GeneCentrix’ reputation

  •  The Investigator’s reputation

 

Relationship between the SFI and the Research

  •  Is the subject of the SFI or its products or services involved in the research, and how?I

  • Is the SFI in a diversified enterprise generally, or in a specific division orsubsidiary more closely related to the research?

 

Nature of the SFI

  •  Equity, cash compensation, or in-kind compensation?

  •  Part of a diversified portfolio or a specific investment?

  •  Publicly-traded or private company?

  •  Does compensation exceed fair market value?

 

Likelihood of influence

  •  Role of the Investigator in the research

  •  Potential gain to Investigator if research yields particular results

  •  Safeguards built into design

If no FCOI is found, the SFI Disclosure will be filed with the Policy Coordinator’s SFI

Disclosure records. If  a  FCOI  is identified it will be put on the FCOI report through

the eRA Commons FCOI module (or, where GeneCentrix is a subgrantee or

subawardee, then GeneCentrix will report the FCOI as required under the applicable

subgrant or subaward agreement) prior to expending any Funding Agency funds.

GeneCentrix will then report any new FCOIs to the Awarding Component within 60

days. If an Investigator with an FCOI conducts a Funded Research, GeneCentrix shall

disclose the FCOI in each public presentation related to the results of the Funded

Research.

GeneCentrix shall make available information concerning identified FCOIs held by

senior/key personnel publicly accessible prior to the expenditure of funds. The

information will include the minimum elements as provided in the regulation, be posted

on a public website or made available within five calendar days of a written request, be

updated at least annually, be updated within 60 days of a newly identified FCOI, and

remain available for three years from the date the information was most recently

updated.

Records Management

GeneCentrix will maintain records of all SFI disclosures, and records of resulting

GeneCentrix action, for at least three years from the date of submission of the final

expenditures report for the applicable funding, or for such other periods of time as 

be required under 45 CFR 75.361, if applicable.

Funded Research Exclusions

Funded Research is any project governed by Funding Agency regulations, but

excluding applications for Phase I support under the Small Business Innovation

Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Compliance and Penalties for Non-Performance

If an investigator fails to comply with the GeneCentrix FCOI policy, within 120 days,

GeneCentrix shall complete a retrospective review of the Investigator’s activities to

determine bias. If as a result of that determination, or at any other time, any bias is

found, GeneCentrix shall submit a mitigation report to the applicable Funding Agency,

in accordance with 42 CFR 50.605(b)(3), that shall address the impact of the bias on

the research project and the actions it has taken to mitigate the bias. GeneCentrix will

work with the Investigator to set up an FCOI management plan to mitigate the

situation. Company wide, GeneCentrix is required to mandate the Investigator disclose

the FCOI in each public presentation with research results, and to request an

addendum disclosing the FCOI in previously published presentations, if it was not

reported up front. In extreme cases of bias, the Investigator may lose the right to work on the project or receive any future NIH funding.