Indian drugmaker seeks to toss 'bloated' billion-dollar lawsuit over Covid vaccine candidate
A drug manufacturer is looking to end a suit brought on by a Seattle-based biotech.
Emcure Pharmaceuticals, a Pune, India-based manufacturer of generic drugs, is pressing a court in Washington to toss out a suit brought on by HDT Bio over a vaccine to prevent Covid-19.
The current motion filed by Emcure on Friday seeks to dismiss the case on several grounds, partially because the court has no authority over an Indian company, Emcure says, and because there is no way that Emcure could damage HDT.
“HDT Bio Corp. hauled Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd. an Indian generic drug manufacturer and distributor with no Washington contacts, into this Court so it could disparage Emcure, damage its reputation, and, at the same time, create publicity for itself,” the motion said. “The Complaint’s bloated billion-dollar damages demand shows this case for what it is: a made-for-headlines hit piece.”
The motion claims that the allegations from HDT arise from agreements between HDT and Emcure’s subsidiary Gennova Biopharmaceuticals. HDT initially partnered with Gennova in July 2020 to help with the potential vaccine’s development in India, where the country’s regulator recently signed off on Phase II and III trials. However, HDT has already sued Gennova in the London Court of International Arbitration. Emcure also alleges that does not have any control over Gennova.
The motion also states that HDT did not identify its trade secrets, alleging that HDT’s description of the trade secrets in question is too vague and, by its very own allegations, are publicly disclosed in patents which cannot form a proper legal basis to assert a claim for trade secret misappropriation.
No action has been taken yet by the court.
The initial suit filed by HDT in March stated that Emcure sought to cut ties with HDT, file patents on HDT tech and go public on the strength of the vaccine. HDT alleged in its suit that Emcure and Gennova took over, planned for a public stock offering, and then never looked back, even refusing to share clinical data with HDT.
“Gennova’s ultimate refusal to provide either Phase II or Phase III clinical data killed a potential $100,000,000 deal with an existing HDT partner,” HDT alleged in its original suit.
HDT was backed with an $8.2 million NIH grant and was looking to develop its self-amplifying RNA vaccine, or saRNA vaccine, which also uses the firm’s proprietary lipid nanoparticle tech. The complaint is filled with claims that HDT’s vaccine will outperform the currently authorized mRNA vaccines, claiming that it is “safer, cheaper, more portable, and likely more effective than the mRNA vaccines on the market.” However, to date, no saRNA vaccine has ever been approved by the FDA.