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In a setback to AbbVie (ABBV), a U.S. federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit in which the drug maker claimed a would-be rival hired one of its employees, who then allegedly transferred a boatload of confidential information about its best-selling Humira treatment.

AbbVie had contended that Alvotech recruited Rongzan Ho in its quest to jumpstart its entry into the market for biosimilar versions of Humira. The biologic treatment is widely prescribed to combat rheumatoid arthritis, among other ailments, and racked up $19.8 billion in worldwide sales last year, including $16.1 billion in the U.S. The medicine accounted for 43% of its revenue.


Alvotech has been attempting to gain its footing in biosimilars, which are nearly identical variants of pricey biologic medicines that yield the same health outcomes. And so in 2018, the company hired Ho, who allegedly downloaded troves of manufacturing information before leaving AbbVie as part of a “plot to target AbbVie from the inside, through its personnel,” according to the lawsuit filed last March.

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