Several Chinese nationals, including two scientists who worked for GlaxoSmithKline, charged with stealing cancer medication trade secrets from the drugmaker are set to stand trial next year.
U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania slated Oct. 22, 2018, as the trial date for the accused.
Following an FBI investigation, Yu Xue, 46, of Wayne; Tao Li, 43, of Nanjing, China; Yan Mei, 37, of Nanjing; Tian Xue, 46, of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Lucy Xi, 39, of Westlake Village, California, were indicted in January 2016 on charges of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud. If convicted, the defendants face possible prison time and fines.
Mei remains at large, purportedly in China. The other four defendants are out on bail.
According to the indictment, Yu Xue and Xi, who worked in GSK’s Upper Merion Township research facility, allegedly downloaded confidential information from GSK’s network and sent it to co-conspirators Li and Mei, who along with Yu Xue, formed a corporation in China called Renopharma allegedly to market and sell the stolen trade secrets.
Additionally, to cover their tracks, the conspirators attempted to hide the proceeds from the sales under the name of Tian Xue, Yu Xue’s twin sister, the indictment alleged.
Yu Xue worked as a research scientist and senior-level manager at GSK from 2006 up until her arrest. At that station, she was tasked with developing various biopharmaceutical products, according to the indictment. She was alleged to have emailed trade secrets relating to at least a dozen products to Li, Mei and others.
Xi, Mei’s wife, was also a scientist at GSK from 2005 to 2015, and was alleged to have emailed confidential information to Mei as well.
Li and Mei, who also have scientific backgrounds, allegedly worked to secure investors for Renopharma and market the stolen trade secrets in China.
Renopharma, headquartered in Nanjing, was advertised in China as a company “with limited U.S. affiliation,” the indictment said, and “publicly touted itself as ‘a leading new drug research and development company, specialized in providing products and services to support drug discovery programs at pharmaceutical and biotech companies.’”
Li, according to the indictment, noted that the company received some assistance from the Chinese government.
“The major funding was from two private investors. We got some supports from the government, including some national awards and extra fundings, tax waive, and a free 4,000 [square foot] lab space,” Li said, according to the indictment.