emcure: Emcure Pharma gets relief in $950-million lawsuit

Mumbai: Pune-headquartered Emcure Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday got a temporary relief from a federal court in Seattle, Washington, against a nearly $950 million lawsuit by US-based HDT Bio accusing it of stealing trade secrets to develop a Covid-19 vaccine based on RNA platform.

The US district judge James Robart upheld the Indian drug maker’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction over the company and dismissed the case without prejudice, which means it can be refiled.

An Emcure Pharmaceuticals spokesperson told ET that the ruling “vindicates” its stand, and declined to comment further.

HDT Bio sued Emcure Pharmaceuticals in March 2020, alleging the latter had misappropriated its trade secrets in violation of the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and the Washington Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

On May 13, 2020, Emcure Pharmaceuticals moved the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over it.

Emcure Pharmaceuticals’ subsidiary Gennova Biopharmaceuticals had developed mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, which was approved by the Indian regulator for emergency use. Gennova Biopharmaceuticals said its mRNA vaccine can be freeze dried and can be stored at higher temperatures which can solve logistics and pricing issues associated with mRNA vaccine.This major improvement in mRNA technology is called self-amplifying RNA (saRNA).But HDT Bio, with which Emcure Pharmaceuticals collaborated for formulation and adjuvant (which boosts the efficacy of the vaccine), alleged the latter had stolen trade secrets related to technology improvement over existing mRNA vaccines at the time.

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