Genentech Sues Amgen Over Neupogen Patents

Genentech Inc. has sued its biotechnology rival, Amgen Inc., in a drug patent infringement case.

Genentech filed the suit last month in federal court in Northern California. It alleges that Amgen infringes on three Genentech patents during the manufacturing process for Neupogen, Amgen's blockbuster, gene-spliced white blood cell drug used to combat infections in AIDS patients receiving chemotherapy.

Genentech is based in South San Francisco. Amgen is headquartered in Thousand Oaks.

Amgen, which holds various long-established patents on Neupogen, says that Genentech's allegations are without merit.

The two companies have tried to settle this licensing dispute for years. Neupogen was approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration in February 1991, and there is a six-year window to file a suit in this type of claim, so Genentech apparently filed its case to beat that deadline.

Typical royalty licensing usually involves 3% to 5% of a drug's sales. In its latest quarter, Amgen pulled in $259 million from Neupogen sales worldwide.

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