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Sanofi Thief Reprimanded

A former Sanofi research scientist is sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, ANDREW BARDWELL

Yuan Li, a medicinal chemist formerly at pharmaceutical company Sanofi, has been sentenced to a year and a half in jail for downloading and selling company information.

Last year, Sanofi employees started noticing that some of their proprietary compounds—6,000 of them, according to a criminal complaint filed last June—were being made available by Newark, Delware-based Abby Pharmtech, in which Li was a 50 percent partner. After incriminating files were found on her computer, Li, who had stopped working at Sanofi last June, pled guilty to theft of trade secrets in January 2010. This April, she received a sentence of prison time and a fine of $131,000 in restitution.

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