Tuesday, Aug 1, 1989
South San Francisco, Calif. -- August 1, 1989 --The U. S. Patent Office today awarded Genentech, Inc. a patent for the recombinant DNA technology relating to the process of preparing tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), its heart attack drug.
Upon receipt of the patent, Genentech immediately filed suit today 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 new suit is in addition to litigation currently pending against the same defendants which involves two previous t-PA patents granted or licensed to Genentech.
The patent granted today will provide Genentech significant additional patent protection, said Stephen Raines, Genentech vice president of intellectual property. It is the third major U.S. t-PA patent granted or exclusively licensed to Genentech.
"The patent issued today will enhance our ability to prevent recombinant t-PA manufactured in other countries from being imported into the United States," said Raines. "This additional patent further strengthens our position against Wellcome, Genetics Institute, and the other defendants. In addition, it reaffirms the central role intellectual property rights play in ensuring the biotechnology industry's health."
The two patents granted earlier are a patent for purified t-PA, issued June 21, 1988, and a patent for certain materials (plasmids, DNA isolates, transformed host cells) used in the production of recombinant t-PA, issued August 23, 1988. The first was granted to the University of Leuven, Belgium, and is exclusively licensed to Genentech. The second was granted to Genentech.
These two patents are presently the subject of litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against the same defendants as in the suit brought today. A trial date for the earlier case has been set for March, 1990.
Sold under the brand name Activase®, t-PA is a thrombolytic agent used to dissolve blood clots in heart attack patients. T-PA is a naturally occurring human protein produced in the body in quantities too small to dissolve large clots that cause heart attacks. More than 125,000 patients have been treated with Activase since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in November, 1987.
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company focusing on the development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceuticals produced by recombinant DNA technology.
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