Wednesday, Jun 2, 1999
South San Francisco, Calif. -- June 2, 1999 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: GNE) today announced that a federal jury was unable to reach a verdict in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by the University of California (UC) against Genentech relating to the company's human growth hormone product, Protropin®.
The nine-member jury was deadlocked in the case in which UC alleged that Genentech's manufacture and sale of Protropin infringed UC's patent under the doctrine of equivalents.
In the trial, UC and Dr. Peter Seeburg, one of the inventors of UC's patent, claimed that Genentech researchers had not independently performed the work on human growth hormone as they published it in 1979 in the scientific journal Nature. Genentech and the co-authors of the Nature publication adamantly deny that claim.
On May 17, several of the co-author's of the 1979 Nature publication describing Genentech's independent development of human growth hormone, sent a letter to both Nature and Science categorically denying Seeburg's testimony that the data submitted in the Nature paper were false. Genentech and the authors asked the editors of Nature to review the multiple lab notebooks that chronicle the work done by Genentech scientist Dr. David Goeddel and his colleagues some 20 years ago that dispute this false assertion. The notebooks contain actual photographs of the growth hormone DNA successfully prepared by Genentech's researchers. These photographs show a unique "fingerprint" that identifies the DNA as Genentech's.
In addition, Genentech has invited other prominent, independent scientists to review the evidence. At their suggestion, Genentech has made these materials available on its web site so that the scientific community can confirm the successful, independent work of Genentech's researchers.
The case was submitted to the jury on Thursday, May 20, after a six-week, highly technical trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. UC filed the patent infringement suit against Genentech in 1990. The judge in the case has not yet decided Genentech's separate claim that UC defrauded the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it obtained the patent. A ruling in favor of Genentech on this claim would render UC's patent unenforceable.
Protropin was the first drug to be marketed by Genentech after the company's founding in 1976. Protropin is approved for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency in children.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Twelve of the currently marketed biotechnology products stem from Genentech science. Genentech markets seven biotechnology products directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and Pacific Exchange under the symbol GNE.
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