Case Filed Against Its Departing Employee By Pfizer Alleging That She Stole Covid-19 Vaccine Secrets

A lawsuit against a soon-to-be former veteran employee has been filed by Pfizer Inc over allegations that the employee had decamped with “scores” of proprietary information, including those that are linked to the Covid-19 vaccines of the company. The employee is said to be preparing to join one of the rival companies of Pfizer.

The confidential agreement that Chun Xiao Li had with the company had been breached by her as she had downloaded the more than 12,000 data sets from the laptop that was issued to her by the company and transferred the data to her personal accounts and devices, Pfizer said and alleged that the employee had not taken any permission for the transfer, showed the complaint filed in federal court in San Diego by the pharma company.

Internal assessments and suggestions concerning the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Pfizer’s connection with its German vaccine partner, and presentations linked to cancer antibodies are among the purported materials.

According to Pfizer, Li, an associate director of statistics, tried to conceal her tracks several times, including supplying a “decoy” laptop to trick the company into thinking she did anything with the information.

The New York-based drugmaker said that Li “has misled Pfizer about what she took, how she took it, when and why she did it, and where those files (and possibly others) can be found”.

Li is leaving Pfizer after 15 years and appears to have accepted an offer to join Xencor Inc, a California clinical-stage firm focused on cancer and autoimmune disease therapies, on Nov. 29.

Through her LinkedIn account, Li could not be reached for comment right away. The complaint does not name Xencor as a defendant, and the company declined to comment.

Competitors, according to Pfizer, have been recruiting its personnel “relentlessly, especially throughout 2021.”

U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo temporarily barred Li from utilizing Pfizer’s trade secrets in an order issued late Tuesday, saying the company’s attorneys can check accounts and devices where she may have kept them.

The judge scheduled a Dec. 9 hearing to consider a longer injunction.

(Adapted from


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