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The U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to investigate whether two companies misappropriated trade secrets in connection with plans to eventually market a biosimilar version of Humira, a best-selling biologic medicine sold by AbbVie (ABBV) for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments.

The decision follows a complaint filed last month by AbbVie, which is bracing for a clutch of biosimilar competitors next year and which hopes to thwart Alvotech and its partner, Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), from selling a version of Humira even sooner. Alvotech is awaiting regulatory approval for its drug after pandemic travel restrictions delayed plant inspections by the Food and Drug Administration.

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