Dr. Alex Tao Responds to Press Release by Codexis, Inc.
Source:    Publish Time: 2017-09-06 08:13   1174 Views   Size:  16px  14px  12px
Dr. Alex Tao Responds to Press Release by Codexis, Inc.

Dear friends and colleagues:

I want to say a few words about the Codexis’case. Since the beginning of the case, Codexis and its CEO John Nichols has been using the case to paint an untrue picture of me and my company EnzymeWorks. Now, as the fact discovery in the case has ended, I want to share our side’s story with you. 

In its press releases and complaint filed with the court, Codexis described me basically as a loser and criminal who were laid off and could not find a job, who did not understand biology, and who stole Codexis’ plasmids. There is, however, zero evidence to support any of these allegations. Everyone in the industry knows the maps and sequences of Codexis’ pCK100900 are publically known with no real value as trade secrets. We also have experimental results, developed in this case, to show they are worse than the pET plasmids that we use. It is ridiculous to suggest that we would misappropriate something that is useless to us. The plasmid theft claim by Codexis is nothing but a fabrication designed to smear me and EnzymeWorks for the purpose of pushing us out of the market place. We, however, have determined to take the case to whatever stage needed to clear our names. 

I understand that many customers have concern about patent issues. From signed collaboration agreements, all our customers know EnzymeWorks agree to take responsibility for patents issues. The core strength of EnzymeWorks is to design novel, greener and more cost-effective processes by retrosynthetically integrating powerful chemical and biological transformations. Everyone in the industry knows that traditional biocatalysts in the market usually do not function well for new processes and new pharmaceutical or fine chemical products. EnzymeWorks have developed more classes of biocatalysts than any other companies in the field including Codexis, and filed over 120 patents. Moreover, the company has the strongest technology to develop over a dozen of cofactors, which is the key to enzymatic catalysis, and the largest in-house enzyme and fermentation facility including DSP and freeze drying for Contract Manufacturing Services (CMO) in the field. 

Thus, the ATA and KREDenzyme kits at issue in the Codexis patent case have never been a significant part of our mission. We started the enzyme kits work in 2014 because people in the pharmaceutical industry were very concerned that Codexis might go out of business. To provide a control and comparison with Codexis enzymes, we reversed engineered Codexis’ATA and KRED enzymes, which is completely legal and encouraged by both US and Chinese laws to enhance market competition. We placed the reversed-engineered enzymes together with over 250 of our own enzymes in the enzyme kits. When Codexis filed the lawsuit alleging patent infringement, we had a total sales of the accused enzyme kits less than $20,000, half of which were to Codexis through a third party “doubt agent” who purchased our products for Codexis to reverse engineer. We actually lost money on the enzyme kit business. That was why we decided not to spend millions of dollars to defend the patent infringement case because of the small potential damages. And we immediately stopped selling the enzyme kits after we learned of the lawsuit. Because we made a generous offer of judgment to Codexis which it rejected, not only is our exposure under the patent infringement claim very limited, but we also expect to recover the cost of the patent suit from Codexis based on the offer of judgment.

We have the confidence using our own technologies to produce high quality enzymes, and will continue to improve the biocatalysis technology make it more efficient for green chemical manufacturing by integrating with chemical transformations.

Thank you again for your support. 

Alex Tao