ImClone settles drug patent dispute

The makers of the antibody-based cancer drug Erbitux have settled a patent dispute with Israeli researchers who claimed to have invented the process for making the drug. Last year, Yeda Research and Development, the tech transfer office of the Weizmann Institute, sued ImClone and Sanofi-Aventis over the Erbitux patent. (The patent was owned by the latter and licensed by the former.) The dispute centered on a long-standing argument between Yale researcher linkurl:Joseph Schlessinger;http://www.

By | December 11, 2007

The makers of the antibody-based cancer drug Erbitux have settled a patent dispute with Israeli researchers who claimed to have invented the process for making the drug. Last year, Yeda Research and Development, the tech transfer office of the Weizmann Institute, sued ImClone and Sanofi-Aventis over the Erbitux patent. (The patent was owned by the latter and licensed by the former.) The dispute centered on a long-standing argument between Yale researcher linkurl:Joseph Schlessinger;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15391/ and Weizmann researcher Michael Sela over who had conceived of the patent claims, which describe combining antibodies and chemotherapy to treat cancer. A federal judge linkurl:ruled;http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/drugs/2006-09-14-imclone-usat_x.htm last September that Sela and two Weizmann colleagues were the patent's true inventors. (Disclosure: Schlessinger is an editorial advisory boardmember of The Scientist.) According to a settlement linkurl:announced;http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97689&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1085268&highlight= by ImClone on Friday (December 7), ImClone agreed that Yeda is the sole owner of the patent's US version, and that Yeda and Sanofi- Aventis carry joint ownership of its non-US counterparts. ImClone and Sanofi-Aventis will each pay Yeda $60 million. In return, ImClone receives a worldwide license to the patent, for which it will pay royalties to both Yeda and Sanofi-Aventis. In 2004, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology linkurl:sued;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22174/ ImClone for infringing on its patent for a method to increase protein production in cell lines, which it had licensed to Repligen Corporation, saying the technique was used in manufacturing Erbitux. The company settled that case for $65 million in September of this year. (Hat tip to the linkurl:news blog;http://chronicle.com/news/article/3592/patent-infringement-windfall-for-israeli-institution at the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

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