[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s botulinum toxin maker Medytox has filed a civil lawsuit in the US against Daewoong Pharmaceutical and its US partner Alphaeon for allegedly stealing a key ingredient of its anti-wrinkle treatment Meditoxin to make their own version.
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The move is largely interpreted as an attempt to block the sales of Daewoong’s botulinum toxin Nabota in the US, which is awaiting US Food and Drug Administration’s approval.
“Daewoong misappropriated Medytox’s valuable assets and related intellectual property so that it could avoid incurring the risks and expenses of independently developing a drug,” California-based law firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton representing Medytox said in the complaint filed at the California Superior Court in Orange County dated June 7.
Medytox alleged that a former employee sold the bacterial strains and related confidential data owned by the firm to a Daewoong employee for US$120,000. Both of them are listed as defendants.
The legal dispute comes amid an ongoing copyright battle between the two Korean companies. Medytox is upping the ante now that Daewoong has already put out Nabota for FDA review. If it goes through, Daewoong would become the first Korean firm to introduce its own botulinum toxin in the US market.
“Medytox seeks to prevent Alphaeon from using the license and selling Nabota ... they should not be permitted to benefit from Daewoong’s theft,” the complaint said.
On May 17, Daewoong’s US partner Alphaeon submitted a biologics license application to the FDA for Nabota with aims to launch it by the end of 2018 in the US. Medytox, on the other hand, is expected to enter later, as its US partner Allergan will begin phase 3 clinical trials for its liquid-injectable product Innotox this year.
Meanwhile, Daewoong has stated that Medytox’ claims are groundless.
“The claims made by Medytox through civil lawsuit are fictitious and will thoroughly demonstrate that all claims are false during the litigation,” the company said in a press release. It added that no charges have been brought against Daewoong, despite Medytox’s request for a police investigation last year.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)