BioWorld International Correspondent

BORNHEIM, Germany Schering AG said it will receive US$20 million from Biogen Inc., subject to a settlement Schering reached with Biogen in connection with infringement litigation over patents covering the manufacture of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis drug, Avonex.

Depending on the nature of an outstanding ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Schering may receive a second payment of either $55 million or $230 million.

A lower court in late summer 2000 ruled in favor of Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen, said Biogen’s associate director of public affairs, Kathleen O’Donnell. “Berlex appealed the court decision. We are waiting for the appeals court to rule.”

She explained that Berlex, a Schering unit, and Biogen had come to an agreed settlement that represents the three scenarios for payment, depending on how the appeals court decides. “If the appeals court sends the decision back to the lower court to be re-heard, that would represent the additional US$55 million. If the appeals court totally reverses the lower court decision that was favorable to Biogen, that would represent the US$230 million.”

Biogen is confident the court will uphold the earlier court decision and Biogen’s obligation will be US$20 million, she said.

If it receives the second payment, Berlin-based Schering would share it with Stanford University and Chiron Corp., according to existing contractual arrangements, the company said.

The proprietary technology concerns the production of human beta interferon in mammalian Chinese hamster ovary cells and the manufacture, use and sale in the United States, Schering said. The group markets Betaseron/ Betaferon for treatment of multiple sclerosis.

As part of their settlement, both companies agreed not to pursue further litigation related to these patents.