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Pfizer (PFE) has accused two former employees of clandestinely creating a pair of companies that are now using stolen trade secrets to develop obesity and diabetes medicines, which recently prompted Eli Lilly (LLY) to strike a collaboration worth up to $1.5 billion.

The saga began about four years ago when two long-standing Pfizer staffers, dissatisfied with career opportunities, decided to create their own venture. They then started accessing numerous internal Pfizer documents and approached a company in Shanghai as an investor, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in Connecticut.

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