Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 18 of 51 September/October 2018 Clinical OMICs 17 Proof of Service Judge Hayes also wrote that HLI failed to file proof of service of its complaint. But his denial allows HLI to refile its motion once proof of service or a waiver of service has been filed. Upon either, he added, the Court will address additional HLI motions to shorten the time for briefing and hearing on the TRO motion, and to disqualify JCVI's law firm, Cooley, from representing the Institute. HLI cited Cooley previously representing HLI in a trade secrets lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court involving a former employee who headed the company's insurance and corporate business group, Tom Wamberg. HLI contends that JCVI gave competitors of the company access to its trade secrets through Venter 's use of an HLI- owned laptop. Venter relinquished his role as CEO last year but remained executive chairman until May. Using that laptop, HLI alleged, Venter "immediately began using the HLI computer and server to communicate to the public, solicit HLI investors and employees" after he left HLI. The company says it terminated him, while Venter announced he retired. Also using that laptop, HLI alleged, Venter sought to recruit up to nine HLI employees in order to establish a competing company. "Defendants' actions were part of a deliberate scheme and plan to deprive HLI of the benefits of its industry, effort, and expense and to give Defendants an unfair competitive advantage," HLI stated in its complaint. HLI is seeking unspecified damages to be determined at trial, and an injunction to prevent misuse of the company's intellectual property. First Response JCVI offered its first response to the HLI lawsuit in court filings opposing the TRO motion. Attacking HLI's conten- tions as "claims that are baseless, and have no likelihood of success on the merits," JCVI noted that HLI consented to Venter 's use of the laptop for both organizations. "The fact that HLI coordinated with JCVI to set up a sys- tem whereby Dr. Venter would use a single laptop and a single email address to perform job functions for both enti- ties—an arrangement benefiting both organizations—does not entitle HLI to the extraordinary relief it now seeks. Far from it," JCVI countered. JCVI also stated that it, and Venter, have preserved data from the laptop, and that their use of the data was not illegal: "Under California law, HLI cannot prevent HLI employees from talking with Dr. Ven- ter, or prohibit Dr. Venter from corresponding with contacts that were his in the first place. "HLI has not identified any grounds for the abso- lute inspection of all JCVI records and Dr. Venter 's personal information that HLI is currently seeking, and has not justi- fied its effort to halt any potential future competition from JCVI," the Institute added. JCVI also accused HLI of "an unauthorized and inappro- priate effort to spy on Dr. Venter" through what it termed improper access to, and review of, his JCVI emails— including communications between Venter and his law- yers, both JCVI's general counsel and his outside lawyer from Cooley, which HLI disclosed in its motion to disqual- ify the law firm. "The Court should assess whether HLI's recent conduct warrants the imposition of sanctions," JCVI added. Unanswered Questions Among unanswered questions: What effect has the dispute had on a research collaboration involving HLI and JCVI as well as University of California, San Diego? The collabo- ration has sought to shed light on the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in microbiome studies. In 2015, researchers participating in the collaboration published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that uncovered significant differences in taxonomy among four different next-generation sequenc- ing library preparations. The researchers performed quan- titative and qualitative analyses comparing whole-genome (continued on next page) Craig Venter left Human Longevity Inc in May and returned to the orga- nization he founded that carries his name, the J. Craig Venter Research Institute (pictured). J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., founder, Human Longevity and the J. Craig Venter Institute Wikimedia Commons

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