The Medical Technology Blog

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is taking its collaborative partner Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to court claiming, amongst other things, misappropriation of trade secrets, know-how and other confidential information, unfair and deceptive trade practices, unjust enrichment, unfair competition and false advertising. The lawsuit was filed in the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court, and accuses Alnylam of exploiting its relationship with Tekmira to engage in inappropriate and harmful conduct related to the latter’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) siRNA delivery technology.

In summary, Tekmira says that Alnylam has harmed the company and its shareholders by: misappropriating confidential information, including trade secrets and other commercially valuable information from Tekmira; disclosing Tekmira’s step-by-step LNP formulation manufacturing instructions to at least one third-party collaborator; incorporating Tekmira’s confidential information into Alnylam’s patent filings and claiming ownership in direct violation of a licensing agreement between the two companies; wilfully and knowingly misusing Tekmira’s confidential information for Alnylam’s own enrichment; and engaging in other unfairly competitive, deceptive and misleading actions in their public disclosures such as claiming Tekmira’s technology as its own.

Tekmira wants substantial damages, and believes it has rights to Alnylam’s pipeline products. The damages, which include future milestones and royalties associated with these products could total over US$1 billion alone. Tekmira also wants to get its hands on any profits it thinks Alnylam has unfairly received based on “wrongful” use of Tekmira’s technology.  All this will be based on what emerges during Tekmira’s prosecution, but even now the company says it is entitled to a big payout.

Not surprisingly, Alnylam has moved swiftly to respond to the lawsuit, stating that Tekmira’s case is without merit or foundation.

The Drug Delivery Insight Perspective: Ultimately, the legal fall out is unlikely to help either company and will divert much needed investment funds into the pockets of the lawyers. One hopes that the lawsuit will force the two companies to the negotiation table and bring a swift end to the dispute.

Espicom Business Intelligence