Tuesday, Aug 23, 1988
South San Francisco, Calif. -- August 23, 1988 --The United States Patent Office today awarded Genentech, Inc. a patent on basic recombinant DNA technology for the preparation of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).
"The patent we received today is confirmation of Genentech's pioneering work in applying recombinant DNA technology to the production of important pharmaceutical products," said Robert A. Swanson, chief executive officer.
Upon receipt of this important recombinant patent, Genentech has filed suit for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Wellcome Foundation, Ltd., Wellcome Biotechnology, Ltd., Burroughs Wellcome Co., Genetics Institute, Inc., Welgen Manufacturing, Inc., GI Manufacturing, Inc. and BW Manufacturing, Inc.
This is the second major U.S. t-PA patent issuing to Genentech's benefit in 1988. In June, the first patent was granted covering purified t-PA as a composition of matter. Genentech is the exclusive licensee under this purified t-PA patent, which is the subject of another patent infringement lawsuit with the same defendants.
Genentech's t-PA, sold under the brand name Activase®, is a thrombolytic agent used to dissolve blood clots in heart attack patients. Tissue plasminogen activator is a naturally-occurring human protein produced in quantities too small to dissolve large clots that cause heart attacks. Genentech scientists used recombinant DNA technology, or genetic engineering, to manufacture t-PA in large quantities.
Activase was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 1987 for treatment of heart attack victims. Today, two out of three heart attack patients receiving thrombolytic therapy are treated with Activase.
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company focusing on the development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals produced by recombinant DNA technology.
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