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Pharmaceuticals

Scientists Accused Of Stealing GSK Trade Secrets

by Michael McCoy
January 25, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 4

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an indictment against five people, two of them GlaxoSmithKline scientists, involved in an alleged scheme to steal GSK biopharmaceutical trade secrets and sell them. The scientists are Ph.D. biochemist Yu Xue and researcher Lucy Xi, both of whom worked at GSK’s R&D facility in Upper Merion, Pa. The indictment says Xue, who worked for GSK from 2006 to 2016; Tao Li, a Ph.D. molecular biologist; and Yan Mei, a Ph.D. medicinal chemist, formed firms in the U.S. and China called Renopharma to market information related to GSK investigational products, including an anti-HER3 antibody similar to the cancer therapy Herceptin. In an e-mail, Li said the partners’ plan was to build a Chinese company that offered antibody humanization/affinity maturation services and then later develop their own antibody drugs. “We have several developed and validated humanized antibodies targeting a certain important target, which is ready for animal experiments,” he wrote. “It’s a fast way to produce a ‘real’ drug in China.”

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