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17 September 2018Americas

Second scientist pleads guilty to stealing GSK trade secrets

A former GSK scientist has pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to steal trade secrets to benefit a China-based company that he helped establish, according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ announced that Tao Li pleaded guilty on Friday, September 14, making him the second scientist to plead guilty in this case. In August, ex-GSK scientist Yu Xue also pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets from GSK.

Li and Xue, alongside another individual called Yan Mei, created Renopharma under the guise of researching and developing anti-cancer drugs.

However, the DoJ claimed that Renopharma had received financial backing from the Chinese government and was actually used as a centre to store information from GSK.

Xue was accused of sending several of GSK’s scientific documents, which contained information about biopharmaceutical products under development, research data, and details about GSK’s research and manufacturing, to Li and Mei.

In January 2016, the FBI arrested Li and uncovered a number of GSK’s documents containing trade secrets and confidential information on his computer.

“The lifeblood of companies like GSK is its IP, and when that property is stolen and transferred to a foreign country, it threatens thousands of jobs here in America,” said US attorney William McSwain.

He added: “Not only is this a serious crime, but it is literally a form of economic warfare against American interests. Such criminal behaviour must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Michael Harpster, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division, explained that the theft of trade secrets threatens the products that GSK has in its pipeline.

“The FBI is determined to stand up for the innovators creating products that improve people’s lives, by investigating and holding accountable those who would steal trade secrets,” he commented.

Li is scheduled to be sentenced on January 4, 2019.

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3 September 2018   A former GSK researcher has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets, in what prosecutors said was a scheme to benefit a Chinese pharmaceutical company.
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10 July 2019   US authorities are seeking the extradition of a Chinese researcher from Switzerland for his part in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

More on this story

Americas
3 September 2018   A former GSK researcher has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets, in what prosecutors said was a scheme to benefit a Chinese pharmaceutical company.
Americas
10 July 2019   US authorities are seeking the extradition of a Chinese researcher from Switzerland for his part in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

More on this story

Americas
3 September 2018   A former GSK researcher has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets, in what prosecutors said was a scheme to benefit a Chinese pharmaceutical company.
Americas
10 July 2019   US authorities are seeking the extradition of a Chinese researcher from Switzerland for his part in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.