Molecular Biosystems Inc. (MBI) announced Tuesday that it hasgranted non-exclusive worldwide rights to its antisensepatents to antisense drug developer Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc.of Carlsbad, Calif.

The license terms, which MBI did not disclose, include alicense fee, annual maintenance fees and royalty payments.

MBI, a San Diego diagnostic and imaging company, owns severalU.S. and foreign patents on antisense technology.

MBI's European patent, which was issued in April, gives itbroad claims over antisense technology. In particular, theclaims cover any antisense oligonucleotide of 14 to 23 basesthat is stabilized to prevent chemical or nuclease degradationand that targets messenger RNA. Its narrower U.S. patent wasissued in September 1991.

Kenneth J. Widder, MBI's (NYSE:MB) chief executive officer, saidthe company has a "dominant antisense patent estate."

Widder said MBI will shortly begin contacting all companiesworking in the antisense field to alert them to MBI's patentestate and to the availability of a non-exclusive license.Widder said he hopes that companies working in the fieldfalling within MBI's patent scope will enter into licenses, buthe added that the company "will aggressively protect itspatent position."

"We know there are a lot of companies involved in antisense.and we are actively working on a non-exclusive licensingcampaign," Beth Field Wallace, MBI's manager of investorrelations, told BioWorld. MBI and Isis management appear tohave "reached an amicable agreement," she said.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt BioWorld Staff

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