Pfizer Inc., the developers of the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is suing a senior member of its staff – a 15-year-old employee – for stealing multiple documents, Reuters reported. The company also claims that the employee has accepted a job offer from a competitor and is seeking a temporary restraining order and compensation from a federal court in San Diego.
IN a copy of the complaint which is publicly available, Pfizer claims that its associate director of statistics, Chun Xiao Li violated his privacy agreement with the company by uploading more than 12,000 files from its laptop released by the company to his personal devices.
Dozens of “confidential documents” were allegedly stolen.
Files that have been transferred without the necessary permission from Pfizer contain “dozens of confidential documents”, including some related to Covid-19 vaccine as well as monoclonal antibodies, avelumab and elranatamab, aimed at treating cancer. Pfizer said it had spent billions of dollars developing these therapies and called elranatamab its next hit drug.
Providing details of the allegations, Pfizer said Ms. Li was hired as an associate director of statistics in the Global Product Development Team (GPD) and had access to her own, confidential and trade secret information related to various products. To protect its intellectual property, Pfizer trains its employees on data security measures and also tracks employee activity on devices issued by the company.
The Pfizer data security team found that Ms. Lee transferred more than 12,000 documents from her Pfizer laptop to a Google Drive account while away from work. Pfizer then investigated her official email to find out that Ms. Li had received a job offer from Xencor, a growing company. monoclonal antibody-based treatments.
During internal investigations, Ms. Li confirmed that she had downloaded the files from her Google Drive account to her personal laptop and external hard drive to organize them for offline use. Ms. Li also handed over a laptop she used to transfer files to aid the investigation. However, a digital forensic analysis by Pfizer points to the possibility that Ms. Li provided a “decoy” laptop, as it was hardly used on the dates on which the files were transferred. Hundreds of Pfizer-related name files were also deleted the night before Ms. Li gave Pfizer’s external hard drive, the company said in a complaint.
Ms Li has since resigned from the company and Pfizer has said it will take a job at Xencor, where it can use Pfizer’s proprietary information, and has therefore called for an order. With the analysis of 12,000 documents still pending at Pfizer, the company identified five unnamed defendants in the complaint, in addition to Ms. Li, but did not name Xencor. Ms Li has not provided any comments so far, and Xencor declined to comment.
U.S. District Judge Kathy Ann Benzivengo granted Pfizer’s request for a temporary block, but will decide on the order during the next hearing on Dec. 9, during which Pfizer’s attorneys can continue to review accounts and devices. the independent reported.