A COVID-19 vaccine maker based in the United Arab Emirates will “vegetately oppose” the Galway firm’s application for an injunction to prevent further distribution of the contract with the Nigerian government, the High Court has heard.
Oncel for Via Medica International Healthcare LLC, registered in the United Arab Emirates, said yesterday that there were “obvious levels of dishonesty” as well as “material nondisclosures” on the part of the Upper Newcastle-based co-directors. 1492 Pharma.
Rossa Fanning SC told the court that the plaintiff company had asked for an offer of damages in support of its application for a temporary injunction against its client, Via Medica.
It turns out, he said, that the Galway firm is a “hollow shell devoid of any assets”.
Lawyers representing 1492 Pharma were ordered by the court to allow them to come off the record after they broke up with their client.
Seamus McCauley, one of 1492 Pharma’s directors, told the court he believed the charges related to the case were leveled at Credit Suisse Bank, which led to the freeze of a dozen bank accounts.
He said he has been informed that the action is part of a “logistical process”.
The company has made commitments regarding payments and is facing only “timing issues” with respect to access to funds. He sought a grace period of two weeks to instruct a new legal team and respond further.
Last month Via Medica gave an undertaking to the court without prejudice that it would not seek business from the Nigerian government for the provision or manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, a rollout program or the sale or supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Determination of injunction application of 1492 Pharma is pending.
The Galway company said it began business in 2020 with a special focus on supplying PPE and COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
In its action, 1492 Pharma claims it made an offer to the Nigerian government in August 2021 for the delivery of a 160 million-dose vaccination program.
It said it contacted the UAE vaccine manufacturer and supplier and made several confidential disclosures about operational matters and proposals with the Nigerian government, during talks about potentially working together to deliver the programme.
It alleges that Via Medica violated a non-disclosure (NDA) agreement entered into during subsequent discussions and with proposals “remarkably similar” to what 1492 Pharma had suggested to the Nigerian Health Ministry. Contacted, the court heard first.
The tie-up between the two firms raised the potential sale of Via Medica shares to 1492 Pharma for $62m (€57m).
Though a share purchase agreement was entered into in January this year, the share sale did not go ahead, the court heard.
The claims are denied, and Mr Fanning said his client would “veterately oppose” the application.
Mr Justice Brian O’Moore set a hearing date for July.