Some readers might wonder why I am going on about this, so let me tell you: this is a considerably more important story than Stripy Nanoparticles Revisited. If, as I am arguing, some of this science is shaky, then it is not only the way we evaluate scientists and spend public money which are put into question, but the foundation of ongoing clinical trials.
Back to basics: in the section of Mirkin’s group PhD dissertation (previous post) that respond to our critique of their work on Spherical Nucleic Acid / SmartFlare / StickyFlare, they wrote the following:
Additionally, since the commercialization and sale of the nanoflare platform under the trade name Smartflare (Millipore), dozens of researchers around the world have participated in successful sequence-specific gene detection.
Reference  correspond to six (half a dozen) articles, 80a to 80f (see below for details and links). Out of these six, only two are actual research papers, and, for both, the SmartFlares are a very minor addition to the work. Out of these two, only one is completely independent of Mirkin/EMD Millipore (the other one comes from Northwestern).
80a) is not primary research; it is an advertorial produced by EMD Millipore.
80c) is a review and it is a collaboration between Northwestern (Mirkin’s University) and EMD Millipore. CoI statement from the paper: “D. Weldon is the R&D Manager at EMD Millipore responsible for the production of SmartFlares. Patents related to therapeutically targeting Nodal in tumor cells have been awarded to E.A. Seftor, R.E.B. Seftor, and M.J.C. Hendrix.”
80d) is a research paper. It does not show in any way that SmartFlares work. It assumes it does. The SmartFlare is a minor part of the article.
80e) is not primary research: it is an advertorial in a magazine funded by company advertising (including EMD Millipore in that very issue). The author is a journalist working for the magazine, not a practicing scientist.
80f) is a research paper. It does not show in any way that SmartFlares work. It assumes it does. SmartFlares are a very minor part of the article. The authors are from Northwestern, i.e. Mirkin’s University.