Feds: 4 ex-Genetech scientists stole from biotech giant to help startup

A woman walks at the Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009.

Enlarge / A woman walks at the Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. (credit: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Four ex-Genentech employees have been criminally charged with stealing trade secrets from their former employer.

According to a press release issued Monday by the United States Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, Xanthe Lam, Allen Lam, John Chan, and James Quach are alleged to have taken "confidential Genentech information to help a company in Taiwan create and sell drugs similar to those that were created by Genentech."

Xanthe Lam, the wife of Allen Lam, and the two other men reportedly became consultants for a Taiwan-based company known as JHL Biotech, which was founded in 2012 and manufactures "biosimilar" pharmaceuticals. According to the Food and Drug Administration: "A biosimilar is a biological product that is highly similar to and has no clinically meaningful differences from an existing FDA-approved reference product."

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