What was initially celebrated as a $300 million partnership between two cannabis firms has devolved into a court battle worth almost $1 billion. Lavvan, a firm based in New York, has filed a lawsuit against Amyris. Lavvan alleges that Amyris misused trade secrets and is guilty of patent infringement.
“LAVVAN owns exclusive rights to the intellectual property which Amyris is wrongfully using in connection with their development, testing and production of biosynthetic cannabinoids, including CBG,” Neil Closner, LAVVAN CEO, said in a press release. “Amyris has falsely claimed that our agreement permits them to engage in these activities, but it plainly does not. We are very disappointed that we have had to take this step, but through a history of erratic and egregious conduct, Amyris has demonstrated a willful intention to undermine the agreement. This has left LAVVAN with no choice but to vigorously pursue all legal avenues available to protect its rights.”
The dispute involves synthetic cannabinoids, like CBG, that the companies were working together to produce. After several months working together in a research collaboration, Lavvan felt that Amyris broke from their deal and that the company had no choice but to file a suit.
Lavvan filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.
“LAVVAN assembled a world-class team and has been eager to lead the multi-billion-dollar biosynthetic cannabinoid market,” Closner said. “But rather than fulfill its obligations to LAVVAN under the Agreement, Amyris has decided to transform from partner to direct competitor, in flagrant violation of LAVVAN’s rights.”
In response, Amyris released a statement defending its position and pushing its innocence. The company was disappointed, to say the least, that this dispute had entered the public domain.”At Amyris, we have built the leading synthetic biology platform and have achieved successful commercialization of eight of our ten scaled-up fermentation molecules through strategic collaborations and partnerships with some of the world’s leading companies,” John Melo, President and CEO of Amyris, said in the statement. “Over the years, we have achieved in excess of $650 million in proceeds from these partnerships. Amyris is disappointed that LAVVAN has chosen the public domain to articulate its position. Amyris has not breached the RCL Agreement with LAVVAN and we will continue to operate in accordance with its terms. We will pursue our legal rights to the fullest extent possible, including a vigorous defense against any assertions made by LAVVAN.”