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Human Longevity Sues JCVI

In a lawsuit filed against the J. Craig Venter Institute, Human Longevity alleges that Craig Venter stole trade secrets from the company he founded, as GenomeWeb has reported.

In the complaint filed Friday, Human Longevity says that when Venter left the company in May, he took a company-owned laptop that contained trade secrets. Venter served as CEO at Human Longevity from 2014 through January 2017, when he became executive chairman, but returned as interim CEO in November 2017.

Human Longevity alleges Venter passed those secrets on to JCVI, where he is chairman and CEO, sought to recruit Human Longevity employees and investors to JCVI, and is setting up a directly competing business.

Human Longevity adds that it terminated Venter after he withheld key information about a Human Longevity executive that would have led to firing, appointed an interim president without consulting the board, and presented a rushed investor deal that would have given him financial incentives. In a tweet in May, Venter said he was retiring from the company but would continue his work at JCVI.

JCVI's attorney, Steven Strauss, tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that Human Longevity's claims are "baseless, without merit, and contain numerous factual errors." He adds that they "intend to vigorously defend against these allegations as the legal process advances."

The Union-Tribune notes that Venter himself was not sued.