SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A former senior scientist at Genentech Inc. and three former colleagues have been indicted on charges of stealing trade secrets from the biotechnology company to give to a rival firm in Taiwan.

Scientist Xanthe Lam, 66, of South San Francisco, worked for Genentech from 1986 until the fall of 2017, according to a grand jury indictment issued Oct. 25 and unsealed on Monday.

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The other defendants are her husband, Allen Lam, 68, of South San Francisco, who worked in quality control for Genentech from 1989 to 1998;

James Quach, 58, of Daly City, a former Genentech engineer; and John Chan, 29, of San Francisco, a former Genentech worker.

Allen Lam, Quach and Chan all became consultants for the competitor, JHL Biotech Inc. of Zhubei, Taiwan, at times between 2013 and 2017. JHL was seeking to make drugs known as biosimilars, the equivalent of generic drugs.

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The indictment alleges that Xanthe Lam began secretly working for JHL while still employed at South San Francisco-based Genentech and funneled trade secrets from Genentech to JHL Biotech through Allen Lam, Quach and Chan between 2013 and 2017.

The defendants are charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets, as well as with additional counts of theft of trade secrets, computer fraud or both.

They made initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero on Monday and were released on bond. Xanthe Lam, Allen Lam and Chan pleaded not guilty to the charges. Quach’s arraignment was delayed until Nov. 2 so that his defense attorney can be identified.

The four defendants are due to appear before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, the trial judge assigned to the case, on Nov. 13 for the setting of future court dates.

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