Biotech co-founder arrested on murder-for-hire charges

Serhat Gümrükcü, co-founder of Enochian BioSciences, has been arrested by US authorities. The researcher is accused of plotting to exploit interstate commerce facilities to carry out a murder-for-hire that resulted in a death.
Enochian is working on gene-modified cellular and immunological therapy for illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis B, and coronavirus, as well as cancer. According to a financial statement submitted by Enochian last year, Gümrükcü invented many of the processes used to construct the candidates, and the company relied on his services. Enochian’s HIV cell treatment received a pre-IND request from the researcher.
On Wednesday, the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont revealed the arrests of Gümrükcü and another individual. The two were charged by a federal grand jury in Vermont with conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.
The case started in 2018. Gregory Davis was taken from his home on Jan. 6, 2018, according to court filings. Davis was discovered dead in a snowbank many miles from his house in Vermont the next day.
Enochian released a statement after seeing the “unexpected and shocking press release” about the arrest of Gümrükcü. The board reviewed the available information and “concluded without reservation that there is no link between the criminal charges and any actions of the company.” Enochian’s CEO Mark Dybul sought to distance the company from Gümrükcü.
“The profound potential of the scientific ideas, and the promising preclinical and in certain cases clinical data have not changed,” Dybul said. “The personal life of the inventor and co-founder does not alter those fundamental facts. Indeed, there has never been a formal role for Dr. Gümrükcü in the company and his remaining informal role as a scientific advisor has concluded.”