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Medytox files complaint with ITC against Hugel over botox dispute

Korean drug makers enter new round of legal battle over botulinum toxin strains

Corporate logos of Medytox and Hugel (Provided by each company)
Corporate logos of Medytox and Hugel (Provided by each company)
South Korean botox maker Medytox has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission against its local rival Hugel over allegations of stealing its bacteria and manufacturing processes, the company said Friday.

According to Medytox, the company lodged the complaint on Wednesday against Hugel, Hugel America and Croma-Pharma GmbH with top global law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan leading the litigation. Croma-Pharma, an Austrian family-owned company based on north of Vienna, is Hugel’s European partner. Hugel America is a US joint venture established by Hugel and Croma-Pharma GmbH.

“Hugel has developed and produced botulinum toxin formulation by stealing trade secrets, including Medytox’s botulinum toxin strains and manufacturing process, and is trying to export the illegal drugs to the US,” Medytox wrote in the complaint.

The ITC should initiate an investigation into Hugel’s illegal activities and issue an order to ban imports of Hugel’s botulinum toxin products, it added.

Medytox said it also strongly requested for prohibition on the sales of Hugel’s products which have already been imported to the US. It also requested suspension of marketing and advertising activities for Hugel’s products.

Jung Hyun-ho, CEO of Medytox, stressed that the company will take all possible means including legal measures to protect its intellectual property in efforts to maximize the value of the company and its shareholders.

Hugel strongly rebutted Medytox’s allegations, saying that the Korean firm’s claims are fake and the ITC complaint is groundless and unreasonable.

“There are no facts or circumstances to support Medytox’s absurd claims about our development process, including when and how our botulinum toxin strains were developed,” Hugel said in a statement.

Pointing out that Hugel has been the No.1 botox seller in the country for the last six years, the company raised allegations that Medytox is just trying to drag Hugel down as it gears up to enter the US market after a series of successful launches in China and Europe.

“We will take every strong legal action and respond confidently,” it said.

The latest complaint came about five months after the ITC had invalidated its previous ruling in favor of Medytox against another local botox developer, Daewoong Pharmaceutical, over the botulinum toxin strain dispute.

In December 2020, the ITC issued a 21-month ban on imports of Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s botulinum products into the US, ruling that the company had inappropriately taken trade secrets belonging to Medytox.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (
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Korea Herald daum