Genentech Inc. said Friday that it has filed a lawsuit againstTanox Biosystems Inc. claiming that Tanox infringed its patentcovering chimeric immunoglobulin compositions. The Jan. 19suit comes a month after Tanox sued Genentech, chargingbreach of a 1989 agreement between the two companies.

Genentech of South San Francisco, Calif., claims in its suit thatTanox transferred several anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies toGenentech for evaluation under an April 3, 1989, BiologicalMaterial Transfer and Confidentiality Agreement. Genentech(NYSE:GNE) said the two companies were unable to agree on theterms of a collaboration to develop the antibodies.

Tanox's executive vice president, David Anderson, toldBioWorld that Genentech at that time "agreed not to initiate acompeting program" unless it was with Tanox, but did soanyway within a month of the termination of their agreement.Tanox's suit was filed in December in the State Court inHouston, where Tanox is located.

Genentech's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the SouthernDistrict of Texas Houston Division, also seeks a declaratoryjudgment that Genentech did not breach a separate April 2,1989, confidentiality agreement with Tanox. The agreement"covers information disclosed in writing, or oral informationlater confirmed and summarized in writing and excludesinformation which later becomes public other than bydisclosure by the recipient," Genentech's suit states.

"Tanox itself disclosed relevant information in the publicdomain in its international patent application" (published July13, 1989) before Genentech initiated its own in-house anti-IgEdevelopment program, the suit continues. Genentech arguesthat all information and material used in its program "werepossessed by Genentech at the time of the aforesaidagreements, independently developed by Genentech, found inthe public domain, rightfully provided by a third party, and/orotherwise legally obtained." Genentech said it was issued a U.S.patent relating to recombinantly derived immunoglobulins onMarch 28, 1989.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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