Novartis drops subpoena request in trade-secret spat with Takeda

Novartis has withdrawn its request to access Takeda’s documents as part of an investigation over potential trade secrets theft.

Novartis originally filed the complaint in Massachusetts Superior Court in October. The Swiss pharma wanted to find out whether a former employee in Egypt took sensitive documents to his new job with Takeda.

After being “stonewalled” by Takeda, Novartis resorted to legal action, attempting to subpoena the Japanese pharma’s business records and depose an employee. Takeda, on Nov. 10, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for recovery.  

According to Novartis, a former employee named Khaled Shams Eldin transferred some 10,000 files to his personal email before departing the company in May. After leaving his post as operations lead for cell and gene therapy at Novartis’ Egyptian unit, Eldin joined Takeda in July in a similar position, the company said.

Earlier this week, Novartis dropped the case, according to a court filing.

It’s not clear if Takeda provided Novartis the related information or offered any assurances to resolve its concerns. In a statement to Fierce Pharma, Novartis said the matter “has been resolved.”

Cases involving alleged theft of trade secrets are not uncommon in the pharma world.

Back in 2021, Pfizer accused a former employee of inappropriately taking more than 12,000 sensitive files—including some on the company’s BioNTech-partnered COVID vaccine—to her personal device. In another case around Pfizer’s research into the hot GLP-1 field, the New York pharma this summer settled a trade secret lawsuit against China’s Regor Therapeutics, which was founded by two former Pfizer scientists.

GSK, Roche’s Genentech, AbbVie and FibroGen all had trade secret cases involving former staffers.