The Seoul Central District Court has begun to test whether Nabota, botulinum toxin (BTX) of Daewoong Pharmaceutical, forms spores in the natural environment to end the dispute between Daewoong and Medytox over the origin of the BTX strain.
The court on Thursday started the appraisal, which is expected to take about 10 days. The court is likely to have the results as early as within this month.
However, the court will not disclose the results due to the confidentiality of the litigation. The first ruling is likely to come in the fourth quarter.
In 2017, Medytox filed a civil lawsuit against Daewoong, claiming that Daewoong stole the BTX strain from Medytox through a former Medytox employee. Daewoong argued that it detected the strain from the soil in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, in 2006.
The court’s appraisal on Nabota strain’s spore-forming will decide whose claim is legitimate.
The court will check if Daewoong’s BTX strain forms spores in the natural environment, not in a laboratory. Usually, BTX strain forms spores to protect the body until the environment becomes suitable for reproduction. However, Medytox’ BTX train does not form spores due to a genetic mutation.
According to a report by NH Investment & Securities, Medytox claimed that its “Hall A-hyper strain” does not form spores, as clearly written in an academic paper. The company argued that checking on Daewoong strain’s spore-forming will reveal whether Daewoong’s strain was that of Medytox or not.
If the court’s appraisal shows that Daewoong’s BTX strain did not form spores in the natural environment, it will give more weight to Medytox’s allegations.
If Daewoong’s strain forms spores, it means Daewoong’s BTX strain is not the same as that of Medytox. In this scenario, Daewoong will be freed from a years-long suspicion that it stole the strain from Medytox.
Daewoong expressed confidence in the court’s spore appraisal. “We are convinced that the spore appraisal will reveal the truth clearly,” an official at Daewoong said. “If the results show that the strain forms spores, an analysis of the nucleotide sequence will be meaningless.”
Each company selected an appraiser for accurate testing. Daewoong picked Michel R. Popoff from Institut Pasteur, France, and Medytox, Park Joo-hong, a professor at the Biological Sciences Department at Seoul National University.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is also investigating a complaint filed by Medytox over the same issue. The two sides will submit their strains to each of the appraisers designated by the two within this week. The appraisers will complete the analysis by Aug. 23, and the commission will hold a trial in November. The ITC intends to make the final ruling by May 29, 2020.