[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s leading drug maker Daewoong Pharmaceuticals and its smaller rival Medytox will discuss on moving forward with their legal fight in the US involving a key ingredient of their botulinum toxin (BTX), products, industry sources said on Oct. 12.
The two companies will hold a conference with the judge on Oct. 27 on how best to handle the case with options such as settlement or accusation withdrawal.
“We are preparing for the case management conference,” a Medytox official told The Investor, declining to elaborate.
The meeting comes about four months after Medytox filed a civil suit against Daewoong and its US partner Alphaeon on June 7, alleging they stole its BTX bacterial strain to make their own version of anti-wrinkle treatment Nabota.
Nabota is awaiting US Food and Drug Administration approval, and industry watchers expect it to hit the US market by end-2018. This would make it the first BTX product developed by a Korean company to be sold in the US, the world’s largest anti-aging market -- which Medytox is also keen to tap.
An ongoing row between both firms soon turned into a major legal issue after a lawsuit was filed in the US.
Medytox alleges that a former employee sold the bacterial strains and related confidential data to a Daewoong employee for US$120,000. Both of them were listed as defendants when Medytox filed the complaint at the California Superior Court in Orange County.
Views on the impact of the lawsuit on Daewoong and Nabota were mixed.
“Daewoong’s share price could experience some volatility, but as the legal battle will likely drag on, it’s unlikely to have a real impact on its efforts to get FDA approval for Nabota,” said Seo Keun-hee, an analyst at KB Securities.
He added that in the end, the case is more about whether Daewoong will be permitted to sell its products.
However, some sources said that while Nabota may get past the regulatory hurdles, the lawsuit could hurt Daewoong’s reputation.
“US firms are very sensitive about corporate ethics. If there are other BTX options, why would US physicians choose products from an ethically problematic company?” an industry watcher noted on the condition of anonymity.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)