A U.S. District Court judge has ordered Centocor Inc. to makeroyalty payments to Xoma Corp. for use and sales in the UnitedStates of Centocor's Centoxin to treat gram negative sepsis.

The ruling follows Xoma's victory in its patent infringementsuit against Centocor. In October, a San Francisco jury foundCentocor guilty of infringing the patent covering Berkeley,Calif.-based Xoma's rival E5 antibody.

The amount of royalties owed by Centocor will be establishedby Judge Robert H. Schnacke after he hears arguments by bothsides. No date has been set.

Following the verdict, Xoma had filed for an injunction againstsales of Centoxin and asked for a hearing on Dec. 20. Instead,the court on Tuesday issued the order that Centocor payroyalties.

The order "doesn't preclude Xoma from filing for an injunctionat a later date if we choose to do so," said companyspokeswoman Carol DeGuzman.

The judge also scheduled a hearing for Jan. 31 on motions byCentocor that the court overturn the verdict or grant a newtrial. At the hearing, Centocor plans to reiterate some of thekey points made during the trial, including its argument thatclaim 7 of Xoma's patent is invalid and isn't infringed byCentocor, said spokesman Richard Koenig. Centocor will makeadditional arguments as well, Koenig said.

Sales of Centoxin are awaiting Food and Drug Administrationapproval. An FDA advisory committee on Sept. 4 recommendedapproval of the monoclonal antibody, but the agency said therewas insufficient data to consider approval of Xoma's E5.

Shares of Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor (NASDAQ:CNTO) gained50 cents to $52.25 on Thursday. Xoma (NASDAQ:XOMA) rose $1to $19.50.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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