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Medytox, Daewoong exchange fire once again

Korean botulinum toxin makers Medytox and Daewoong Pharmaceutical exchanged fire once again on Wednesday, both claiming to have the upper hand in winning the US International Trade Commission suit.

Medytox issued a press release in the morning saying that during the hearing of the suit from Feb. 4-7, the USITC’s staff attorney sided with the allegations that Daewoong had indeed used Medytox’s trade secret BTX.

If this is reflected in the final decision, Daewoong’s US partner Evolus will not be able to sell the BTX product Jeuveau anymore, Medytox claimed.

Medytox also said that together with its US partner Allergan, it had requested Daewoong’s CEO to be present for court examination. While this request was not heeded, Medytox’s CEO personally showed up as witness.

The company hinted that it wishes to release the complete contents of the settlement offer Evolus had reportedly made to Medytox, if it agrees.

Later in the afternoon, Daewoong stomped out its official response, presenting directly contradicting information.

The company argued that throughout the legal process, it presented proof that its BTX did not originate from Medytox’s.

It further claimed that Medytox had bribed its appointed experts and that their analysis of the BTX strain had serious faults.

Daewoong said the the USITC staff attorney’s opinion is only partial information. The same attorney had acknowledged that, in order for the USITC suit to proceed, Daewoong’s alleged theft of Medytox’s classified trade secret must show some undermining of the American domestic industry.

However, Medytox’s BTX product Innotox had been put on hold for phase 3 clinical trials by its US partner Allergan, and has yet to be commercialized. There is a possibility the whole suit may be dismissed, Daewoong said.

As for the absence of its CEO, Daewoong countered that his presence is irrelevant to the case, unlike Medytox’s CEO Jung Hyun-ho who is directly involved.

Daewoong claims it was Medytox who had suggested the settlement to Evolus, and that the partnering firm turned down the proposal.

A final decision of the USITC will be made in October this year.

Medytox’s release of the staff attorney’s opinion crosses the court’s protective order, Daewoong said, adding that it may be resorting to diversionary tactics.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety had imposed a fine of 166.8 million won ($140,000) on Medytox in February for failing to maintain required guidelines at its manufacturing plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. The ministry had imposed 200 million won fine on Medytox in September 2019 for the same offence.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (