Direct Biologics Lawsuit: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Stem Cells


Remember that exciting new biotech company, Direct Biologics, pioneering stem cell therapies? Well, their journey hasn’t been entirely sunshine and rainbows. In April 2022, they found themselves embroiled in a legal battle with a former employee and a competitor, Vivex Biologics, over a messy mix of alleged contract breaches, trade secrets, and accusations of unfair competition. Buckle up, because this lawsuit is a fascinating glimpse into the high-stakes world of cutting-edge medical research.

The story centers around Adam McQueen, a former Direct Biologics employee who signed a non-compete agreement before jumping ship to Vivex. Direct Biologics claims McQueen took sensitive information about their proprietary stem cell technology with him, giving Vivex an unfair advantage. They filed a lawsuit accusing McQueen and Vivex of breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, and tortious interference with their business.

Think of it like this: imagine Direct Biologics is a bakery with a secret recipe for the world’s fluffiest croissants. They hired McQueen as a baker, made him promise not to share the recipe, then he walked out and opened his own bakery using the same secret dough. Direct Biologics, understandably upset, is suing McQueen and his new bakery for stealing their thunder (and buttery goodness).

The lawsuit quickly escalated, with both sides firing off accusations and demanding hefty damages. Direct Biologics sought a temporary restraining order to prevent McQueen from using their technology, while McQueen and Vivex argued the information was readily available and not a trade secret. It was a legal Ping-Pong match, with each side claiming victory.

In April 2023, the case reached the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the judges had to decide whether Direct Biologics had a strong enough case to justify a temporary injunction. Ultimately, the court ruled against Direct Biologics, finding they hadn’t presented sufficient evidence of irreparable harm.

So, where does this leave us? The lawsuit is still ongoing, with both sides preparing for a full trial. The outcome could have significant implications for the entire biotech industry, setting precedents for protecting trade secrets and fostering innovation.


What is Direct Biologics developing?

Direct Biologics is working on stem cell-based therapies for various diseases, including COVID-19.

What are trade secrets?

Trade secrets are confidential business information that gives a company a competitive edge.

What is a non-compete agreement?

A non-compete agreement restricts an employee from working for a competitor for a certain period after leaving their job.

What is the status of the lawsuit?

The lawsuit is ongoing, and a trial date has not yet been set.

What are the potential implications of this case?

The outcome could impact how trade secrets are protected in the biotech industry.

Where can I learn more about Direct Biologics?

You can visit their website at


Direct Biologics v. McQueen, No. 22-50442 (5th Cir. 2023):
Direct Biologics Announces Publication of Significant Survival Benefit with ExoFlo™ in its Phase 2 Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial in the Journal CHEST:
Direct Biologics, LLC v. McQueen, 1:22-CV-381-SH | Casetext Search + Citator:

Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As the lawsuit unfolds, stay tuned for more twists and turns in this high-stakes biotech drama.

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