Evolus' and Daewoong Pharma's Jeuveau lost the first round in a trade dispute with AbbVie's Allergan and its Korean partner Medytox that sought to block imports of the Botox rival, but the match is not over yet.

AbbVie's  Allergan and its Korean partner Medytox allege that a former Medytox researcher stole Botox samples and transferred them to Daewoong in January 2019. Now, the Administrative Law Judge overseeing the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) released a Notice of Initial Determination for the case and has recommended a 10-year ban on Jeuveau imports, the companies said in statements. 

This non-binding initial decision sites a violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, according to media reports. It will not affect the Jeuveau launch and product supply unless and until it is finalized. The United States International Trade Commission will review the case, with a final determination targeted for November 2020. Evolus' stock prices fell as analysts cut their share-price targets after the initial ruling.

Evolus intends to petition the Commission to review the case on the grounds of an improper attempt to use the USITC to litigate a dispute between two Korean competitors. The trade secrets asserted by Allergan and Medytox have never been used in the U.S, Evolus stresses. The intellectual property jurisdiction of the USITC was created to protect domestic industries from improper foreign competition. 

“We strongly disagree with the initial determination and we look forward to the full Commission’s Final Determination targeted for November 6, 2020. In addition, we intend to petition the Commission to review the initial determination,” says David Moatazedi, Evolus President and Chief Executive Officer, in a news release.