Life Sciences is an area ripe for trade secrets misappropriation litigation. In recent news, Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC filed a lawsuit under the North Carolina Uniform Trade Secrets Act alleging that its former director of federal accounts, Andrew Thomas, stole trade secrets relating to Merz’s flagship botulinum toxin drug Xeomin®. Those secrets purportedly included drug pricing strategies, marketing plans, market share data, and potential customer lists, all of which were intended to grow Xeomin®’s presence in the government market sector — a key therapeutic sector for Merz’s drug, which is primarily known for its aesthetic effects.
In the United States, the scale of trade secret theft is estimated to be between $180 billion and $450 billion annually. Among the targets of this theft are pharmaceutical companies, which are some of the most research-intensive institutions in the world. Pharmaceutical research generally requires extensive work and often generates proprietary data that is pivotal to shaping pharmaceutical development. Because that data may be very attractive to threat actors, pharmaceutical companies employ various measures to protect their proprietary information, these measures may sometimes fall short. A November 2021 trade secret misappropriation suit brought by Venn Therapeutics (“Venn”) against Corbus Pharmaceuticals (“Corbus”) in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida highlights the issues that can arise despite a company’s best efforts to protect its trade secrets.