- Agilent Technologies has accused the CEO of the hot biotech start-up Twist Bioscience of stealing synthetic gene manufacturing trade secrets when she left Agilent to co-found Twist, according to San Jose Mercury News.
- Twist Bioscience has raised over $130 million in venture funding since it was founded in 2013. Agilent's lawsuit alleges Twist's financial success is due to stolen proprietary gene technology which the CEO, Emily Leproust, took from Agilent after working there for 13 years.
- In a statement, Twist called Agilent's claims "baseless and without merit," and said it would "defend itself vigorously against them."
Co-founded two years ago by Leproust and Bill Peck, Twist has not yet started its operations to manufacture DNA, but plans to do so this year, according to the company's web site. The start-up recently completed a series D financing round of $61 million.
Agilent accuses Leproust of hatching a scheme to take Agilent's oligo-synthesis technology, an automated way to synthesize DNA. Their lawsuit points to Leproust's registering of Twist's domain name in 2012, before she left Agilent. Leproust also brought a number of Agilent employees with her when she left, allegedly violating an agreement she had with Agilent.
Agilent wants an injunction issued against Twist, as well as unspecified damages.
Twist fired back in a statement Thursday saying, "Typical of much larger, less innovative companies, Agilent's actions reveal an obvious attempt to stifle competition."
Agilent's lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.