Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced that it has receiveda notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office(PTO) on a patent for the ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)protein and pharmaceutical compositions containing theprotein.

However, the patent application has been forwarded to theinterference branch of the PTO due to a conflict with anotherpatent application.

The company received two previous notices of allowance onCNTF patent applications, one covering the gene sequence andone covering production of the protein in E. coli. Those patentapplications are also being reviewed by the interference officesince they conflict with patents issued to Synergen Inc. ofBoulder, Colo. Once the PTO rules that an interference exists,both companies will enter into a lengthy legal proceeding inorder to determine who invented the patentable technologiesfirst.

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