Pfizer sues two ex-employees, Xiayang Qiu and Ming Zhong of stealing trade secrets and says that the former employees obtained a large investment from Eli Lilly and Co. into their new company that was founded on stolen trade secrets.
Qiu and Zhong left Pfizer and founded Regor Therapeutics in 2018. Within months, Roger developed a diabetes-and-obesity treatment that was “strikingly similar” to Pfizer, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut complaint. Pfizer’s complaint said Delaware secretary of state records show that Qiu and Zhong founded Regor in May 2018—before they left Pfizer in June 2018.
Zhong and Qiu had been working at Pfizer since the early 2000s, and that Qiu’s work focused on discovering new therapeutic compounds, while Zhong worked with outside researchers to analyze compound samples from toxicology studies. Both contributed to the development of Pfizer’s treatment, Pfizer said. The complaint added that Zhong and Qiu plotted to steal Pfizer’s trade secrets in 2018 while they were still at the company, meeting with potential collaborators in China, drafting contracts related to Regor, and allegedly founding the company before leaving Pfizer later that year.
After the Regor patent was discovered, Pfizer launched an internal investigation. It found that the phone Zhong returned to Pfizer was not actually his company-issued iPhone, which hasn’t been recovered, the company said. Forensics revealed Zhong improperly downloaded various confidential documents and deleted several items from his company-issued laptop, Pfizer said.
Pfizer also named as a defendant a second company created by Zhong and Qiu and backed by China’s Qilu Pharmaceutical Co, Shanghai-based QILU Regor Therapeutics, for misusing its trade secrets.
The case is Pfizer Inc v. Regor Therapeutics Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, No. 3:22-cv-00190.
Contact ITMG to Develop Strategies and Protocols Designed to Help Your Company Mitigate Your Insider Risk
ITMG is an industry leader in helping organizations throughout the United States strengthen their insider risk management programs and secure sensitive data and intellectual property. Our team of bona fide experts has the real-world experience necessary to plan out and create holistic security solutions tailored to the needs and risks in your industry. Contact ITMG today to learn more about how we can help! You can also visit our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages for more updates and insights into the world of insider risk management.