A Medical Device Daily

Medtronic (Minneapolis) said it has agreed to pay $270 million to settle all royalty disputes with Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) that concern Medtronic's licensed use of the Palmaz, Schatz and Pinchuk patents.

According to Medtronic, the agreement ends all current and potential disputes between the two parties under their 1997 settlement and license agreement relating to coronary angioplasty stent design and balloon material patents. Other disputes between the parties are unaffected by this settlement.

"Resolving these disputes allows us to focus our resources on the development of new products that will improve the quality of care for people with cardiovascular disease," said Scott Ward, president of the CardioVascular business and senior VP at Medtronic.

Medtronic paid J&J $270 million in satisfaction of all alleged royalty claims against its products under a 1997 settlement and license agreement between the parties. Medtronic will reflect the settlement as a one-time charge in its fourth fiscal quarter, ending in April.

In other legalities, the class-action lawsuits against Sequenom (San Diego) continue to pile up in the aftermath of the company disclosing that the expected launch of its SEQureDx Down syndrome test will be delayed as the result of employee mishandling of R&D test data (Medical Device Daily, May 4, 2009).

This week the law firm of Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check joined the growing list of firms that have filed class action suits against Sequenom on behalf of stockholders who purchased shares between June 4, 2008, and April 29.

Similar to the other class action suits that have been filed against the company, the latest complaint alleges that Sequenom and certain of its officers knew or recklessly disregarded the facts that some of its employees had mishandled test data and results for SEQureDx; that the test failed to provide a significant improvement to existing Triple and Quad tests; that as a result, the company would be unable to achieve a commercial launch of the test by June 2009; that the company lacked adequate internal controls; and that, as a result of the foregoing, Sequenom's statements about its financial well-being and future business prospects were lacking in any reasonable basis when made.

Last week Glancy Binkow & Goldberg (Los Angeles) filed a similar class action suit against Sequenom (MDD, May 6, 2009), which came on the heels of at least two other firmst that have either filed a suit or are investigating the company concerning possible securities violations. Johnson Bottini, a San Diego firm, filed a class-action suit on behalf of the same group of stockholders and the law offices of Howard Smith (Bensalem, Pennsylvania) said it is "investigating potential claims" against Sequenom.

Upon news of the delay of SEQureDx, shares of Sequenom fell $11.29 a share, or 75%, to close on April 30 at $3.62 a share.