Processing Magazine

NC judge awards $57.5 million to Durham drug company

September 5, 2008

A Wake County judge has awarded more than $57 million to a Durham drug development company after finding that a former Serenex employee, chemist Yunsheng Huang, stole experimental cancer formulas and passed them on to Chinese drug companies. According to the Associated Press, the judge ruled in November that former Huang stole experimental cancer formulas and gave them to his Chinese business partners. Serenex sued after a patent search revealed a Chinese company had applied for a patent for a product similar to Serenex''s. Huang was listed as a representative for that foreign company. Serenex went to great lengths to keep its work private and devised an internal code for chemical formulas to keep computer hackers from understanding the company''s work. The company''s attorney, Jonathan Sasser, would not say how Huang obtained the formulas he gave to the Chinese companies. Huang has fled to China, according to court documents. It''s unclear whether Serenex, which was acquired this year by Pfizer, will receive any of the $57.5 million because American judgments against foreign companies are often difficult to collect. The Chinese companies that received Serenex''s formulas ignored the lawsuit after unsuccessfully asking Wake County Superior Court to dismiss the case against them. Since then, they have not responded to the lawsuit nor sent representatives to court.