Immuno-oncology has gone from a competition to a battlefield. Bristol-Meyer Squibb launched a lawsuit against David Berman, a former researcher that abruptly quit last month after 10 years working for the company’s cancer R&D division. Berman, with his deep knowledge about BMS’s immune-oncology research, headed to AstraZeneca, BMS’ principal opponent. Game on.
In this competitive world there is no consolation prize for second place. Bristol-Myers Squibb knows this all too well and it is not willing to lose this multibillion race. The company may be a leader in the immuno-oncology field, but definitely has reasons to believe that its work is threatened. The resignation of David Berman, who had a major role in BMS’s development of new checkpoint inhibitors, rang all the alarms. The oncology expert was, most recently, Head of the immuno-oncology exploratory development team in BMS and his know-how could be definitely useful for English AstraZeneca, which rapidly hired him.
According to the lawsuit, when BMS reminded Berman that he was subject to non-competition covenants,