×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Musk's Neuralink faces fresh allegations, probe sought by medical ethics group

While Musk, in a Twitter post on September 10 attributed the death of the monkeys to their terminal illness (“close to death”, his post read) and not his company’s trial, a medical ethics group has sent letters to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging the agency to investigate Musk’s claims.
Last Updated : 27 September 2023, 17:26 IST
Last Updated : 27 September 2023, 17:26 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Elon Musk is on the radar again with allegations of potential securities fraud being levelled at him, over the statements that he had made regarding the death of the animals that were used for research purposes at Neuralink, his biotech startup. 

While Musk, in a Twitter post on September 10 attributed the death of the monkeys to their terminal illness (“close to death”, his post read) and not his company’s trial, a medical ethics group has sent letters to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging the agency to investigate Musk’s claims, reported WIRED. The letters claimed that the reason for the death of the primates was complications with the implant procedure. 

The publication noted that in 2018, when SEC had charged Musk with securities fraud related to Tesla, it had considered his social media accounts as a source of investor news. Musk’s post on Neuralink’s monkey’s has over 7,60,000 views.

The company has reportedly raised over $280 million from outside investors. The SEC has jurisdiction over the sale of any securities including those of private companies like Neuralink.

Last year, Neuralink employees told Reuters the company was rushing and botching surgeries on monkeys, pigs and sheep, resulting in more animal deaths than necessary, as Musk pressured staff to pursue FDA approval. The animal experiments produced data intended to support the company's application for human trials, the sources said. 

The letters were sent by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine who batted that Musk’s comments on deaths were “misleading” and argued that the investors needed to know the truth. 

“They are claiming they are going to put a safe device on the market, and that’s why you should invest,And we see his lie as a way to whitewash what happened in these exploratory studies,” Ryan Merkley, the leader of the committee, told the WIRED

Musk had also reportedly claimed that the animal testing done at Neuralink was not “exploitary” and that they were “extremely careful”.

The publication noted that based on their research, the veterinary records reveal “gruesome” portrayals of sufferings of Neuralink’s primate subjects, who had to eventually be euthanised, as it argued that these documents could be the basis for any potential SEC probe.

Last year, Elon Musk’s Neuralink was under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations amid internal staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the investigation and company operations.

Neuralink Corp is developing a brain implant it hopes will help paralysed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments. 

The billionaire entrepreneur is expecting his brain-chip startup Neuralink to start its first human trial this year. Musk has missed timelines on his public pronouncements about Neuralink before, however. On at least four occasions since 2019, Musk predicted that Neuralink would soon start human trials.

In one instance in 2021, the company implanted 25 out of 60 pigs with the wrong-sized devices. All the pigs were subsequently killed - an error that employees said could have been easily avoided with more preparation.

Despite this, the company announced in May that it had gotten an FDA nod. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 27 September 2023, 17:26 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT