Genentech Seeks to Bar JHL From Developing 3 Biosimilars

November 10, 2018
Samantha DiGrande

Genentech says that the biosimilar company benefited from its proprietary information, and a hearing is scheduled for December 13, 2018.

Last month, former Genentech employees were charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets to assist biosimilar developer JHL Biotech in developing its products. Last week, Genentech filed a motion in the United States district court for the Northern District of California, seeking an injunction to block JHL from making and selling potential biosimilars. Genentech says that the biosimilar company benefited from its proprietary information. A hearing is scheduled for December 13, 2018.

The company will request that the court block JHL from “making, testing, using, promoting, offering to sell, marketing, commercializing, or selling biologics, therapeutics, drugs, and/or products of any kind that utilize, embody, or were developed, in whole or in part, with the benefit or use of any of Genentech’s trade secret information."

Although not among the parties indicted for the alleged theft of trade secrets, JHL co-founder, co-chairman, president and CEO Racho Jordanov and co-founder, COO, and general manager Rose Lin were listed as defendants by Genentech.

On October 25, a federal grand jury indicted 3 former Genentech employees, Xanthe Lam, Allen Lam, and James Quach, as well as John Chan, a former JHL formulation scientist. The 4 allegedly stole trade secrets over the course of 5 years related to the biopharmaceutical dornase alfa (Pulmozyme) and some of Roche’s top-selling cancer drugs: rituximab (Rituxan), trastuzumab (Herceptin), and bevacizumab (Avastin).

According to the indictment, the stolen information includes proprietary analytical methods for ensuring drug safety and efficacy, processes for developing and testing products for quality purposes, and procedures and protocols for calibrating and maintaining manufacturing equipment and facilities.

Xanthe Lam, a principal scientist at the Roche Holding AG unit from 1986 until 2017, allegedly downloaded, collected, and transferred the proprietary information to her husband, Allen Lam, and others at JHL. She also allegedly secretly consulted for JHL while still employed at Genentech.

If the indicted defendants are found guilty, Xanthe Lam, Allen Lam, and Chan face as long as 10 years in prison. Quach could face as many as 5 years.