Boston, the world’s biotech capital, became the location for one of biotech’s most important but not well-known legal battles. On September 25th, 2019 in Massachusetts Superior Court, Errant Grant Therapeutics (EGT) filed their long-awaited legal complaint against Third Rock Ventures, LLC (TRV) and Nick Leschly, its CEO.
The accusations? As stated in Civil Action No. 19-1832, plaintiff EGT’s complaint against TRV and Leschy addresses an alleged “tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets civil conspiracy, [and] unjust enrichment.” This little-known case is important, as it seeks to ensure that the often winner-take-all world of drug development is governed by the rule of law.
As previously reported by TrialSite News, EGT and TRV have been at it for quite some time. It is a riveting tale that has been unfolding since 1992 when Patrick Girondi’s eldest son was diagnosed with Thalassemia, a fatal blood disease. This spurred his interest in learning about the disease and his dedication to finding a cure for his son (and for other children afflicted with deadly rare diseases). Girondi later founded EGT in the year of 2003.
For additional background coverage of Patrick Girondi’s journey from simple family man to David vs. “Capitalist Medicine” Goliath, see here. We also detailed EGT’s Major Victory in New York Court, and summarized the case exhibits that were released shortly thereafter.
Found in the Introduction of their complaint, the defendants “maliciously embarked upon a secret and unlawful scheme to misappropriate highly confidential intellectual property concerning a potentially life-saving gene therapy developed by EGT, a small biomedical company.”.
The introduction also exposes, in detail, the alleged unlawful and tortious behavior of the defendants: “Keeping their brazen scheme hidden was vital to the success of Defendants’ willful plan to ‘shut down’ EGT. Defendants actively concealed their bad faith conduct from EGT through various improper means and unlawful acts, including, without limitation, financially inducing EGT’s research partner, Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (“SKI”), to disclose confidential information to BBB; financially inducing SKI to enter into secret, undisclosed agreements with BBB; making material misstatements and omissions (including in public filings) to conceal Defendants’ wrongdoing; and lulling EGT into inaction by feigning interest in EGT as a business partner.”
The world of biotech drug development can represent a high stakes, winner-take-all, zero sum business; and it is a slippery slope from healthy competition to razor-sharp dealing and somewhere crossing the line into illicit business behavior. In this case, it is alleged that the illicit misappropriation of intellectual property led to unjust enrichment and an increase of market capitalization from less than 1 billion to 6 billion. Now the Superior Court will review these legal issues, investigate the facts, and apply the rule of law.
Readers interested in the full-length complaint are given, in 23 pages, a timeline of events that have led to the ‘here and now.’ After all the facts are given, seven highly-descriptive counts are listed as to EGT’s Causes of Action.
TrialSite News keep readers up-to-date on EGT’s story because we believe it to be a symbolically important case in an incredibly important industry. Without the proper attention and coverage of what very likely could be outrageous practices, what’s to stop more companies from trying the same?
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