LiLaw Inc. founder J. James Li helped negotiate a settlement between his client, EnzymeWorks, and Condexis, after two years of litigation. The settlement was announced on Feb. 5. Codexis had initiated claims against EnzymeWorks founder Alex Tao, which included trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract, which were dismissed with prejudice. Both parties have stipulated to a judgment regarding the patent infringement claim.

Both firms work in the biocatalysis industry. Biocatalysis is catalysis (the acceleration of a chemical reaction by a catalyst) in living systems. In biocatalytic processes, natural catalysts, such as protein enzymes, perform chemical transformations on organic compounds. Both enzymes that have been more or less isolated and enzymes still residing inside living cells are employed for this task.

Biocatalysis is a relatively new field, and some guidelines are coming up to minimize legal risks and make the technology more attractive for chemical production. EnzymeWorks develops its own enzymes and processes via retrosynthetic integration with chemical transformations.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but a statement issued by EnzymeWorks indicated that the company can better focus its resources on improving biocatalysis technology in an effort to make it more efficient for green chemical manufacturing.