Xoma Corp. has asked the U.S. District Court in San Francisco torestrict Centocor Inc. from manufacturing or marketing itsCentoxin treatment for gram-negative bacteremia and septicshock.

The motion, filed Nov. 22 and disclosed in a Securities andExchange Commission filing last week, comes a month afterXoma won its patent suit against Centocor. Xoma had chargedthat the Malvern, Pa., company infringed on Xoma's E5antibody, a rival treatment for gram-negative sepsis.

In September, a Food and Drug Administration advisorycommittee recommended marketing approval for Centoxin,while the FDA said it was not ready to consider marketapproval for E5. Centoxin "is in the final stages of review by theFDA," Centocor spokesman Charles Cabot said on Monday.

Xoma's motion also requests that Centocor be required to filemonthly reports on Centoxin sales after Oct. 31, and that itmake payments to Xoma for the sales.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Xoma asked for a hearing on the motionon Dec. 20, and that the court rule on the payments by Jan. 31,said company spokesman Carol DeGuzman.

Xoma could win an injunction to block Centoxin from themarket if it demonstrates all of the following: that FDAapproval of Centoxin is imminent; introduction of Centoxin willcause irreparable harm to Xoma; the public interest will beserved by an injunction; and that Centocor is not likely to win ifit appeals the patent infringement suit.

Centocor may argue that an injunction will not serve the publicinterest because Centoxin is a life-saving drug.

Centocor stock (NASDAQ:CNTO) closed down 25 cents Monday at$48.75. Xoma (NASDAQ:XOMA) was up 38 cents at $17.63.

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

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