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Genentech Gets Taiwanese Co. to Abandon Biosimilars


Taiwan’s JHL Biotech has agreed to stop developing copycat versions of four Genentech biologics as part of an unfinalized deal to end high-stakes trade secrets litigation, Genentech confirmed Monday.

Genentech Inc. said it’s reached a memorandum of understanding with JHL Biotech Inc., with a formal settlement deal to come out “in due course.” The two companies have been battling in court since October 2018, when a former top Genentech scientist and three of her former coworkers were charged with stealing medical formulas and other trade secrets to give to JHL, with civil litigation quickly following.

The memorandum of understanding requires JHL to “abandon development of and destroy all cell lines and cell banks” tied to the four Genentech biologics: cystic fibrosis treatment Pulmozyme, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment Rituxan, breast cancer treatment Herceptin, and cancer treatment Avastin.

Additionally, the deal blocks JHL from disclosing, using or sharing confidential information from Genentech, according to Genentech. JHL also has to cooperate with a civil suit pending against the individual scientists, and to allow Genentech conduct unannounced audits.

Cody S. Harris of Keker Van Nest & Peters LLP, an attorney for Genentech, said in a statement Monday that the settlement is a unique situation.

“Unlike the usual settlement, which brings work to a close, this one kicks off an extremely active phase in the case, in which we will thoroughly investigate JHL’s misconduct, ensure compliance with the settlement, and continue pursuing Genentech’s claims against the remaining individual defendants,” Harris said.

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