Serenex, the Durham-based biopharmaceutical company, is due to collect $57.5 million from two Chinese companies and a former Serenex employee who Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said conspired to steal trade secrets. But it’s doubtful Serenex will ever collect the money.
Ruling on a lawsuit brought by Serenex, Stephens found that former Serenex chemist Yunsheng Huang forwarded formulas for a new cancer drug to Beijing Gylongli and GYLL Biomedtech, two Chinese companies run by Communist Party official Tongxiang Zhang.
While searching Huang’s computer, Serenex discovered documentation concerning a Chinese patent for a copycat version of the Serenex drug.
After the lawsuit was filed, Huang fled to China, transferring title to his house and two cars to his wife. None of the defendants responded to the lawsuit, which makes collection on the award problematic.
Serenex took great pains to protect its trade secrets, including using internal code names for formulas to throw off computer hackers. In his ruling, Stephens called the company’s intellectual property its “most valuable asset.”