Ex-Genentech scientist sentenced to six months in prison for stealing trade secrets
Almost four years after Genentech first publicly accused a former top scientist of stealing trade secrets, she’s been sentenced to six months in prison.
Xanthe Lam and her husband, Allen Lam, were both handed the same sentence of six months’ imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. Their deadline for voluntary surrender will be next April, as they aren’t currently in custody.
A 30-year veteran at the biotech, Xanthe Lam was working full-time as a principal scientist when Racho Jordanov and Rose Lin, the CEO and COO of Taiwan’s JHL Biotech, approached her for insider information about the Roche subsidiary’s blockbuster cancer drugs. JHL was looking to develop biosimilars to those drugs, and Lam’s senior role gave her access to a trove of confidential documents and files that she then turned over to JHL.
Those include detailed documents like standard operating procedures used in regulatory filings. At one point, prosecutors allege that JHL employees drafted around 90 different SOPs using Genentech’s material, sometimes simply copying and pasting or removing the Genentech logo.
In order to keep the illicit scheme from Genentech, she communicated with JHL employees and received payment through Allen Lam.
The trade secrets offered a shortcut, Genentech argued, for JHL to develop biosimilars at an “astonishing” pace for a startup, racking up millions of dollars of investment and scoring a partnership with Sanofi — while enriching the founders.
Jordanov and Lin have previously pleaded guilty to both stealing trade secrets and lying to investors. They were sentenced to one year and a day.
As for the Lams, who also pleaded guilty, they will be subject to three years of supervised release upon the end of their prison term.
The sentencing order was filed last week at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and entered over the weekend.