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Integrated Genomics Sues Two Former Employees for Helping DOE’s JGI Develop Competing Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Integrated Genomics has sued two former employees for allegedly breaching their contracts by helping their new employer develop a technology that would complete with IG’s ERGO genomic-analysis software, IG said Wednesday.

The suit, filed in a US District Court in Chicago, claims that former employees Nikos Kyrpides and Natala Ivanova broke the non-competition and non-solicitation stipulations in their contracts with IG after leaving the company.

Kyrpides, who was director of bioinformatics at IG, and Ivanova took positions with the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute after resigning from the company, and then “proceeded to develop a competing software product while at the JGI,” IG claims.

The company also said that Kyrpides “recruited other IG employees” to work at JGI to develop a software product that would compete with IG’s ERGO, a genomic analysis platform. 

John Elling, IG’s president, said the company has "spent considerable time and resources for over a year trying to reach an amicable resolution,” and said the lawsuit is “not the option we wanted to pursue.

A spokesperson for JGI said the Institute has no comment.

The suit is reminiscent of a similar claim filed by Decode Genetics last September. In that case, Decode sued five former employees for allegedly sharing company trade secrets and intellectual property and for breaking non-compete and non-solicitation provisions.

Decode said the five employees, including former vice president of business development Hakon Hakonarson, were recruited by the Center for Applied Genomics, a business unit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which is also named in the suit. Four of the former employees are currently employed by CAG.

That suit, filed in the US District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that the former employees, “while still Decode employees and with the knowledge of senior CHOP staff, copied or sent directly to CHOP Decode proprietary methods, tools, business plans, and research results owned by the company,” Decode said in a statement.

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