Teva Pharmaceuticals. Photo: Raysonho/Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine via Wikimedia Commons

The dispute between generic drugmakers Apotex and Teva stemming from a former Teva executive’s alleged disclosure of trade secrets to an Apotex CEO while the two were dating is heating up, with the parties now sparring over the speed of discovery.

Shortly after Teva filed its lawsuit, which alleged its former senior director of regulatory affairs gave confidential information to Apotex CEO Jeremy Desai, Teva asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to expedite discovery to determine the full extent of the information that was shared.

Apotex, however, pushed back Monday, arguing that Teva had been aware of the situation for more than a year before it filed the case.

Specifically, Apotex’s reply, which was filed by Fox Rothschild attorney Abraham Reich, said Teva’s decision to first refer the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which ultimately declined to press any charges, was no excuse for the delay.

“That strategic choice reflects Teva’s willingness to await from the sidelines, in a supporting role at best, the FBI’s factual investigation and a prosecutor’s discretionary decision about whether to prosecute,” the reply said. “In light of Apotex’s anticipated motion to dismiss, Teva’s litigation—like the FBI investigation Teva instigated—will prove to be a waste of time. Defendants should not have to bear the burden of Teva’s expedited discovery under these circumstances.”

The former Teva executive, Barinder Sandhu, who is also a defendant in the case, joined Apotex’s motion, as did Desai, who is also a defendant in the case.

Goldberg Segalla attorney John Parker is representing Teva in the lawsuit, and Drinker Biddle & Reath attorney Barry Gross is representing Desai. Philadelphia attorney Lisa Mathewson is representing Sandhu.

Parker, Gross and Mathewson each did not immediately return a call for comment.

Reich said, “We intend to raise all of the appropriate defenses to the claims that have been asserted, and will do so in the context of the court system.”

Teva, in its lawsuit filed July 7, alleged that Sandhu shared Teva files with Desai by uploading information onto a USB flash drive, and using a cloud-based drive. The complaint said hundreds of files were shared.

According to the complaint, Sandhu and Desai were involved in a romantic relationship around the time that Sandhu was transferred from the company’s Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, offices to offices in Horsham. As a result of that transfer, Sandhu relocated to Pennsylvania, and she and Desai lived together for some time in the state, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleged, among other things, that Desai and Apotex used the information to speed a competitor drug through the regulatory process.

On July 18, Teva filed its motion seeking expedited discovery, saying the discovery request was narrow, the information requested could be destroyed without an expedited discovery schedule, and that the faster pace would help Teva prepare a preliminary injunction motion.

The motion, according to Teva, was aimed at stopping any further disclosure of trade secrets, and preventing any allegedly irreparable harm.

“The trade secrets and other confidential information in the analysis very likely allowed, and still allows, Apotex to improve its own purchasing decisions to drive down the cost of its competing drugs,” the motion said.

Along with arguing that the motion was brought too late, Apotex also contended that the motion for expedited discovery is overly broad, and should not have been filed before seeking an injunction.