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Amid the intense race to develop Covid-19 products, Pfizer (PFE) accused a former employee of stealing more than 12,000 files — including scores of confidential documents — that contained information about its coronavirus vaccine as well as two cancer drugs.

In its lawsuit, the drug maker alleged Chun Xiao (Sherry) Li uploaded the material from a company laptop in October onto a personal Google drive account and other personal devices shortly before she planned to accept a job with Xencor (XNCR), a small company developing monoclonal antibodies for various cancers. Pfizer sells one such treatment for bladder cancer and is working on another for blood cancer.


Li, who was hired in 2006, worked as an associate director of statistics in the global product development group in La Jolla, California. This unit is responsible for evaluating drug safety and effectiveness in clinical trials needed to obtain regulatory approval and, as a result, Pfizer maintained Li had access to “highly confidential” and “proprietary” information about numerous vaccines and medicines.

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