A group of InterPharm Laboratories Ltd. shareholders filed a lawsuitagainst the Israeli company alleging a recombinant beta interferon cellbank purchase and sale agreement was illegal, and should be voided.The $2 million transfer to Ares-Serono S.A. was made late year.The suit also named InterPharm's wholly owned subsidiary, Inter-LabLtd., Ares-Trading S.A. and Swiss-based Ares-Serono, which owns 76percent of InterPharm. Ares-Serono on May 6 made a cash tender offerof $22 per share, or $33 million, for the remaining InterPharm shares,representing a 76 percent premium to the market at that time."There's a small group of minority shareholders who are trying to raisethe price of the tender offer," Christophe Lamps, Ares-Serono'sdirector of corporate communications, told BioWorld. "Ares-Seronoand InterPharm have been subject to persistent litigation. Most of theselawsuits are frivolous and baseless."The tender offer is continuing as expected," Lamps said, adding thatthe offer and withdrawal rights expire June 6, although the date may beextended.The shareholder complaint alleged the cell-bank agreement was notadopted in accordance with company procedures, that it was notallowed under Israeli law, that Ares-Serono is forbidden to competewith InterPharm, and that the agreement oppressed rights of minorityshareholders. _ Jim Shrine

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