On April 3, 2019, Hueston Hennigan on behalf of client Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc filed litigation against billionaire inventor, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. The lawsuit details what Sorrento believes was a scheme to “catch and kill” a cancer drug that—had it been brought to market as planned—would have saved patients, hospitals, and the United States government in excess of $1 billion.
As alleged in the Complaint, the “catch and kill” operation involved Soon-Shiong’s May 2015 acquisition from Sorrento of a drug called Cynviloq™—a bioequivalent to the blockbuster chemotherapy drug Abraxane, which Soon-Shiong had invented and sold to Celgene Corp. in 2010 for $2.9 billion. Through that acquisition, Soon-Shiong became Celgene’s single largest individual shareholder.
As further detailed in the Complaint, Sorrento alleges that Soon-Shiong made false representations about his intent to market and develop Cyvniloq when he purchased it from Sorrento in 2015; in fact, the Complaint alleges, Soon-Shiong made the purchase to keep it out of the hands of Celgene’s competitors in order to preserve his financial interests as Celgene’s largest individual shareholder.
Sorrento also filed a related $1 billion arbitration demand against Soon-Shiong and his company, NantPharma LLC, seeking damages and punitive damages for fraud and breach of contract.
As noted in the Wall Street Journal, “Dr. Soon-Shiong promised Sorrento that he would ensure Cynviloq was approved and launched in the U.S. Instead, he and his companies stopped development in what the complaint termed a “catch and kill” scheme because Cynviloq’s success would have hurt sales of the drug he invented, Abraxane.”
“Through this litigation, Sorrento seeks to hold Defendants accountable for executing a scheme that kept a promising cancer drug off the market,” said partner Steve Feldman. “As alleged, not only did this cause over $1 billion in damages to Sorrento, it prevented patients from having access to an affordable alternative to a leading chemotherapy drug.”
The Hueston Hennigan team is led by John Hueston and Steve Feldman.