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22 January 2016Americas

US government charges five with GSK trade secrets theft

The US government has charged five Chinese scientists with conspiring to steal confidential research into anti-cancer drugs belonging to pharmaceutical company GSK.

In an announcement on Wednesday, January 20, the US Attorney’s Office revealed that an indictment had been filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania accusing the five scientists of conspiring to steal the information before selling it on in China.

In 2012, Yu Xue, a senior-level manager at GSK between 2006 and January 2016, helped to establish a Chinese drug company called Renopharma alongside Tao Li and Yan Mei.

Renopharma, according to the indictment, was established with the intent of selling GSK’s research into monoclonal antibodies, used to tackle cancer, to other pharma companies while passing it off as its own research.

Lucy Xi, a scientist at GSK between July 2008 and November 2015, and Xue’s sister Tian Xue, are also accused of participating in the scheme.

David Memeger, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, filed the suit claiming Renopharma’s purpose was “to market and sell the stolen trade secrets and other confidential information”.

If convicted, the defendants could face a jail sentence and fines.

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