Court of Rome Names Actial Farmaceutica as Rightful Owner of VSL#3® Bacteria Strains Accounts
In a major legal victory for VSL Pharmaceuticals (“VSL”), the Court of Rome has ruled that Actial Farmaceutica’s (“Actial”) former CEO Claudio De Simone improperly transferred to himself bacterial strain accounts containing the eight bacterial strains included in the VSL#3® probiotic.
The court ruled that VSL’s parent company, Actial Farmaceutica (formerly known as CD Investments S.r.l. or “CDI”) – not De Simone – is the rightful owner of the eight accounts into which Actial deposited and registered the constituent eight bacterial strains of VSL#3® nearly eight years earlier at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (“DSMZ”) in Braunschweig, Germany.
Shortly before De Simone’s resignation as VSL’s CEO, he carefully orchestrated his departure by, among other things, plotting to interfere with VSL’s continuing supply of VSL#3® in the hope that he and his new company, ExeGi Pharma LLC, would become the sole supplier of a competing high-potency probiotic product. In furtherance of his plan, De Simone caused Carmelo Luigi Mento, his friend and then-chairman of the CDI board, to make the invalid transfer ownership of the DSMZ accounts from CDI to De Simone.
“We are grateful that the Court of Rome, like many other courts around the world, has recognized that De Simone’s conduct violated the rights of Actial,” said Luca Guarna, CEO of Actial Farmaceutica. “This court decision provides not only vindication for Actial, but also reinforces the fact that the improper and self-serving tactics of Claudio De Simone were unlawful and will not be tolerated.”
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