GenPharm International Inc. "categorically denies" Cell GenesysInc.'s accusations that it misappropriated Cell Genesys' methodof creating transgenic mice that produce human antibodies.GenPharm issued a statement Wednesday in response to CellGenesys' lawsuit, which was announced the previous day.

The suit charges that GenPharm obtained trade secretinformation about Cell Genesys' "Gene Inactivation Invention"from a scientific consultant to Cell Genesys. GenPharm said itdid not receive prior notification of the lawsuit and learnedabout it from the media.

The suit says that from August 1989 to August 1990, FrederickAlt, then a professor of genetics at Columbia University, was ascientific consultant to Cell Genesys. It states that Altannounced some time between April and June 1990 that hewould be consulting with GenPharm. Cell Genesys concludesthat Alt was an advisor to GenPharm before the company fileda U.S. patent on the technology in question on Aug. 29, 1990,and provided the company with its trade secret information.

GenPharm's chief executive officer, Jonathan MacQuitty, saidAlt was not a consultant to GenPharm during the time specifiedin Cell Genesys' suit. "The allegations of the complaint arespeculative and the speculations are wrong," MacQuitty said."We believe that Cell Genesys, having lost the race to be first ingenerating human antibodies using transgenic mice, now seeksto regain the lead by trying to cry 'foul'. At best, this is poorsportsmanship; at worst, an attempt to use legal process forextra-legal means." GenPharm of Mountain View, Calif., isconsidering filing a complaint against Cell Genesys.

Cell Genesys' suit asks the court to order GenPharm to turnover to Cell Genesys the ownership of patent applicationsincorporating the Gene Inactivation Invention or, alternatively,to have GenPharm strike all claims relating to the inventionfrom the patent applications. GenPharm's patent is entitled"transgenic non-human animals capable of producing non-heterologous antibodies."

The suit also seeks preliminary and permanent injunctiverelief, actual and punitive damages and an accounting of profitsclaimed to have arisen from GenPharm's actions.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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