SEOUL -- A patent war between Medytox, a leading botulinum toxin (botox) producer in South Korea, and its domestic rival, Daewoong Pharmaceutical, has been left to judgment by a U.S. federal agency that directs actions against copyright infringement and other unfair trade practices.
Medytox said Monday that the administrative court of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has ordered Daewoong Pharmaceutical to submit its botulinum strains and related documents and information to designated experts for verification.
A legal battle over the origin of botulinum strains began in 2016 after Daewoong Pharmaceutical, a major bioengineering company in South Korea, unveiled Nabota, a botox product for the treatment of frown lines, that secured approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February this year.
Medytox has filed lawsuits in U.S. and South Korean courts, claiming that Daewoong has violated trade secrets by recruiting a former Medytox employee to steal information on strains and manufacturing.
Botulism toxins are produced by bacteria of the genus Clostridium. Medytox insisted its botulinum strain type A "Meditoxin" cannot be found in a natural state because it does not form spores, while Daewoong said the strain was sporiferous and found in a stable.
Medytox said Daewoong's illegal activities would be proved through various verification methods, including the analysis of the entire genome sequence. On its complaints, the U.S. ITC launched a probe in March.
Since botox was introduced in South Korea mainly for aesthetic treatment of facial wrinkles, Medytox has seen dramatic growth in sales. It will sell Meditoxin in China under the brand name of Neuronox and plans to unveil a prefilled syringe formulation of botox under the brand of Innotox.
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