Verus Demands $1 Billion From Astrazeneca

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Verus Pharmaceuticals demands $280 million from Astrazeneca – and $1 billion in punitive damages – claiming Astrazeneca abandoned a project to develop a drug for pediatric asthma, and entered a “substantially similar research and development” project with (nonparty) Map Pharmaceuticals.

     Verus also sued Tika Lakemedel in New York County Court, alleging fraud, breach of contract and conversion. The deals involved budesonide, a steroid.
     Verus claims Astrazeneca abandoned the project in December 2008 before “an agreed-upon milestone in the regulatory approval process: the end of Phase 2 FDA meeting.” It adds, “Defendants’ actions were motivated by fear and unmitigated greed.”
     The fear allegedly came from finding that a competitor, Map, had launched a generic version of budesonide in November 2008. That allegedly caused Astrazeneca to drop Verus, “to sabotage Verus’ ability to resume its pediatric budesonide research,” to sign a license agreement with Map, and “to destroy Verus and its entire business in the process.”
     Verus is represented by Blair Fensterstock.

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