Teva Accuses Former Top Exec of Passing on Trade Secrets to Boyfriend—CEO of Rival Apotex

Published: Jul 17, 2017

Teva Accuses Former Top Exec of Passing on Trade Secrets to Boyfriend — CEO of Rival Apotex July 12, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

PHILADELPHIA – There’s been another twist in the ongoing legal disputes between Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical and Canadian generic drugmaker Apotex. This week Teva accused its former head of regulatory affairs in the U.S. of passing trade secrets to her boyfriend, who happens to helm Apotex.

In the lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania, Teva said that between 2014 and 2016 Barinder Sandhu copied company data onto a flash drive and passed the information onto Jeremy Desai, the chief executive officer of Apotex and Sandhu’s boyfriend. Sandhu was terminated in October 2016, FiercePharma reported on Wednesday.

According to the lawsuit, Sandhu created a file on her work-issued computer that uploaded approximately 900 Teva files to a personal cloud account, as well as filled up to 10 flash drives with company information. Those actions violated the company’s confidentiality agreement, according to the FiercePharma report.

Apotex used the information to “speed the regulatory approval of its competing product,” FiercePharma said, citing the lawsuit.

Not only has Teva said Apotex received the illegally obtained information, but also alleged that the Canadian company used Teva’s “confidential corporate information and even adopted a similar company structure at Apotex,” FiercePharma said.

Teva is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Teva and Apotex have a history of tangling in the courts over patents. In 2007 Teva sued Apotex over patents related to carvedilol, a treatment for congestive heart failure. Teva claimed that the Apotex treatment infringed on Teva’s patents for carvedilol. Carvedilol is the active ingredient in GlaxoSmithKline 's heart failure drug, Coreg. Last year, Teva sought to block Apotex from applying to sell a generic version of Amrix, a muscle relaxer. Teva, which developed the drug with Adare Pharmaceuticals, said Apotex’s application infringed on the patents for the drug.

Teva has been struggling as of late as it faces mounting debt, patent losses and an ongoing search for a new CEO. Teva reported its debt at the end of 2016 was $35.8 billion, which was down nearly $10 billion from the previous year. The company has been considering selling off or spinning off its branded generics business in an effort to reduce debt. Additionally, Teva’s top branded drug, Copaxone, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis, is facing the loss of patent protection. The drug accounts for about 16 percent of Teva’s sales.

Additionally, Teva has had legal problems of its own. In December 2016, the company paid out $519 million to settle parallel civil and criminal charges that it allegedly violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when it paid bribes to foreign government officials in Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico between 2002 and 2012.

Earlier this year, Teva reaffirmed a lower revenue forecast for the year. The company first announced it was cutting the prediction last month. For 2016, Teva posted revenue of $21.9 billion, an 11 percent increase over 2015. The company said that increase was primarily based off the Acatavis acquisition.

While Teva has struggled, Toronto-based Apotex has been striving to gain ground on the Israeli company, as well as other generic drugmakers. In March, Apotex announced plans to establish a new research and development center and advanced manufacturing and packaging facility in southern Florida. The new site will serve as the U.S. headquarters for Apotex.

Shares of Teva have been on a steady decline over the past 12 months. In August 2016, the stock was trading at $55.45 per share, but this morning shares are at $30.97.

Back to news