The European Patent Office on Tuesday reversedImmunomedics Inc.'s broad European patent coveringradiolabeled monoclonal antibody fragments used in cancerimaging.
The patent, No. EP 35,265, was opposed by Hoechst, Unileverand Lilly's Hybritech unit, said Amy Factor, vice president offinance at the Warren, N.J., company.
Immunomedics' announcement was made after the close of themarket. The stock (NASDAQ:IMMU) was unchanged at $9.75.
"The direct implications for the company in the short term arelimited," said Factor. While the patent covered the company'sImmuRAID CEA colorectal cancer imaging product, otherpending patents cover the method Immunomedics uses to labelantibodies with technetium, Factor said. No other companieshave issued European patents for radiolabeled antibodyfragments, she added.
Immunomedics filed in April for European marketing approvalof ImmuRAID CEA.
A similar broad patent issued in the U.S. in the early 1980s.Due to differing patent laws, the U.S. patent isn't affected bythe European ruling, which was based on prior art, thecompany said. -- Karen Bernstein
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