The war of nerves between Daewoong Pharmaceuticals and Medytox regarding a U.S. court’s decision over Daewoong’s botulinum toxin (BTX) strain had been temporarily put on hold amid uncertainty the case will resume.
Medytox메디톡스 filed a suit against Daewoong대웅제약 and the latter’s U.S. partner Alphaeon for allegedly stealing the company’s botulinum toxin (BTX) strain to produce Nabota, an anti-wrinkle treatment after Daewoong filed for the treatment to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June.
If Nabota is approved, it will become the first domestically developed BTX to be sold in the U.S. market, the largest BTX market in the world. Medytox has also been trying to market their BTX as well.
The two companies had been exchanging verbal fire in Korea before the suit in the U.S. with Medytox claiming that a former employee stole their trade secret and helped Daewoong develop their own BTX.
Medytox claimed that BTX is a state-controlled biochemical substance and anyone who finds it should immediately report to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the center should investigate it. There were reports by some, but CDC did not investigate them, according to Medytox officials.
Still, the California court put the case on hold saying that the matter will be discussed on April 13 next year. The court in a minute order noted that the suit would stay pending the resolution of proceedings in South Korea.
After the U.S. court’s decision, both companies had released statements with Daewoong claiming that the suit had been thrown out, and Medytox arguing that the case had just been put on hold and could continue after trial procedures in Korea.
Some legal experts here sided with Daewoong’s statement, saying that the trial’s continuance in the U.S. seems highly unlikely.
“Although Medytox plans to follow up with the U.S. court’s decision, it seems unlikely that the trial will go forward there,” said Kim Young-jun, a U.S. lawyer counseling for Seseung LLC, a Korean law firm. “The decision of the U.S. court after accepting the ‘forum nonconveniens’ principle cited by defendant Daewoong agreed with it and suspended the hearing on the premise of an initial trial in Korea.”
The application of this principle means the U.S. court believes that it is appropriate for the case to be heard in a Korean court first, Kim said.
“Theoretically, Medytox may request the U.S. court to let it resume the trial in the future, but if the judgment comes by the procedures and regulations of the Korean law, the U.S. court will likely not raise any objection,” he added.
Medytox still plans to proceed with the suit against Daewoong in Korea, according to the company’s press release on Monday.
"Opening a forum on the acquisition of the BTX strains owned by Daewoong with the related parties, experts and regulators can put an end to the dispute,” a Medytox official added. “If there is any wrongdoing on Medytox’s part we are willing to pay all legal fees.”
The company also believes that the suit filed in the U.S. can resume next year.
Medytox cited the U.S. court order, which stated: “If it turns out that the alternative forum is not suitable after all, this court has the power to lift the stay and proceed with the action in the original forum.”
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