A former research chemist in the New Jersey office of Sanofi-Aventis has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for stealing trade secrets from her former employer.

Yuan Li of Somerset also must serve two years of supervised release and pay $131,000 in restitution under the sentence imposed Monday. She had pleaded guilty in January.

Federal prosecutors say the 30-year-old Chinese national made the secrets available for sale through the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese chemicals company called Abby Pharmatech in which Li was a partner. She worked from 2006 through 2011 at Sanofi's U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, researching potential future drugs.

Li admitted accessing, downloading and making available for sale on Abby's website internal Sanofi database information on compounds the company says were trade secrets.

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