Pfizer Sues Employee in San Diego Court, Alleging She Stole 12K Files, Some Related to COVID Vaccine

FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is pictured on their headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Nov. 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Pfizer Inc. has sued a longtime employee for allegedly stealing “scores” of documents – including some related to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine – as she prepared to jump to a competitor.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday in San Diego federal court, Pfizer said Chun Xiao Li breached her confidentiality agreement by uploading more than 12,000 files without permission to personal accounts and devices from her company-issued laptop.

The alleged materials include a Sept. 24 “playbook” containing internal assessments and recommendations about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Pfizer’s relationship with its German vaccine partner, and presentations related to cancer antibodies.

Pfizer said Li, an associate director of statistics, tried repeatedly to cover her tracks, even providing a “decoy” laptop to obscure what she did with the files.

Li “has misled Pfizer about what she took, how she took it, when and why she did it, and where those files (and possibly others) can be found,” the New York-based drugmaker said.

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