Five years of rancorous litigation over whose name belongs on the patent for analogs of the anticancer taxane class of compounds ended last week with a federal appellate ruling against Florida State University (FSU) in favor of generic drug giant American BioScience (ABI).

The June 23rd ruling removed FSU researchers including Robert Holton from the list of inventors of three taxane analogs and reinstated Patrick Soon-Shiong, president and chief executive officer of ABI, and other researchers from his company.

Though the ruling was a defeat for FSU, which had prevailed at the lower court level, it does not endanger the stream of revenues to the school from Holton's work as inventor of the semisynthetic form of Taxol. The breast and ovarian cancer treatment that has brought the school more than $300 million in royalties since the mid-1990s was not at issue in this case.

However, compounds that could represent the...

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