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Trovagene Settles Lawsuit With Former Execs

Local medical test maker Trovagene Inc. has resolved a year-long legal dispute between the company and its former chief executive officer and former chief financial officer.

Last year, the company’s then-CEO Antonius Schuh and then-CFO Stephen Zaniboni were fired by Trovagene for alleged breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the two executives. According to Trovagene’s statement last year, Schuh and Zaniboni allegedly failed to present a lucrative corporate opportunity to the company, and instead took advantage of the opportunity for their own personal benefit.

In response to Trovagene’s actions, Schuh and Zaniboni filed a wrongful termination suit.

Schuh and Zaniboni are managing partners of an investment firm called Global Source Ventures. The venture fund was approached by a therapeutics company developing a very early-stage cancer drug, Schuh said in an interview last year. The investment firm became engaged with the drugmaker as advisors and angel investors.

Trovagene, which makes liquid biopsy tests to screen for cancer mutations, announced in March 2016 that it had filed a complaint against the two executives in San Diego Superior Court. The complaint asks that Schuh and Zaniboni be required to turn over their interests in the cancer drug opportunity to Trovagene.

At the time, Schuh said the company’s actions were baffling.

“Our engagement with the investment firm has been well-known to Trovagene from day one,” Schuh said last year. “They agreed to it. It was in our employment agreements and known to the public on our LinkedIn profiles. We’ve been doing this for four years.”

Today, however, Trovagene released a statement saying the parties had come to an agreement to resolve the disputes. The parties stated that the time had come to focus on their respective endeavors without distraction and expense of further litigation.

“After completing its investigation, (Trovagene) has come to the conclusion that Dr. Schuh and Mr. Zaniboni believed they acted at all times in a manner consistent with their duties as Trovagene officers,” the release states. “Dr. Schuh and Mr. Zaniboni, after completing their investigation, stated they have come to the conclusion that Trovagene’s Board of Directors believed it acted at all times in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.”

According to the court’s online records, the suit has not yet been fully dismissed.

When asked for more details regarding the settlement, Zaniboni said no further information could be provided until certain transactions were completed.

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