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US trade court lifts import ban on Daewoong’s Nabota

Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s botulinum toxin product Nabota (Daewoong Pharmaceutical)
Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s botulinum toxin product Nabota (Daewoong Pharmaceutical)

The US International Trade Commission has lifted a 21-month ban on the sale of Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s botulinum toxin product Nabota, or Jeuveau, in the United States, according to an announcement from Medytox on Tuesday.

The decision allows Evolus, a US partner of South Korea’s Daewoong, to resume sales of Nabota in the US, after a legal battle between Medytox and Daewoong over misappropriation of trade secrets.

The dispute between the two Korean pharmas, Medytox and Daewoong, began five years ago.

Medytox first brought a civil lawsuit against Daewoong in a local court in 2017, accusing it of misappropriating Medytox’s proprietary botulinum toxin. Medytox and its US partner Allergan filed a similar complaint with the ITC against Daewoong and its US partner Evolus in 2019.

In December last year, the US trade court ruled in favor of Medytox, slapping Daewoong with a 21-month ban on the sale of its botulinum toxin product.

That 21-month ban was recently lifted after the three companies -- Medytox, Evolus and Allergan’s parent company, AbbVie -- agreed in February to fully resolve all outstanding litigation, including the ITC case concerning the sale of Nabota in the US and other countries where Evolus has licensing rights.

Evolus had agreed to pay Allergan and Medytox milestone payments worth $35 million over two years. Evolus also has to pay royalties to Medytox and Allergan on net sales of Nabota for 21 months, and only to Medytox after that. Evolus also issued 6.76 million common stocks to Medytox, making Medytox its second-largest shareholder.

Daewoong last month sent a letter of consent to the ITC supporting the lifting of the ban, but also requested that the ITC withdraw its final ruling made in December. In its ruling the ITC said it had found irregularities in Daewoong’s procurement practices involving Medytox’s botulinum toxin strain and that Daewoong had stolen Medytox’s development know-how.

The ITC accepted the settlement agreement but rejected Daewoong’s request to invalidate the December ruling.

Meanwhile, Medytox plans to continue its civil lawsuit against Daewoong in a court in Korea. Medytox said it would use evidence from the ITC case to win the civil lawsuit here, saying it proved Daewoong had appropriated Medytox’s trade secrets.

Botulinum toxin is the core ingredient in wrinkle treatment products such as Botox. Botox is a botulinum toxin product sold by Allergan.

By Shim Woo-hyun (