Karen BernsteinBioWorld Staff

Alza Corp. and its marketing partner, Marion Merrell Dow Inc.,have been hit with a second lawsuit seeking to block sales ofAlza's Nicoderm nicotine patch.

Ciba-Geigy Corp. of Ardsley, N.Y., on Monday filed suit in U.S.District Court in New Jersey alleging infringement of U.S. patentNo. 5,016,656. The patent, relating to a transdermal nicotinesystem, was assigned to the University of California, SanFrancisco, and exclusively licensed to Ciba-Geigy.

A hearing has been scheduled for today to act on a request byCiba-Geigy for a temporary restraining order against Alza andMMD to prevent sales of Nicoderm.

Alza's patch last month became the first nicotine patch toreceive Food and Drug Administration marketing approval.MMD had said it would begin selling Nicoderm before the endof the year.

The announcement came after the close of the market. Alzashares (AMEX:AZA) closed up $3.38 at $84.25.

In November, Alza was sued by Elan Corp. plc and AmericanCyanamid Co. for allegedly infringing U.S. patent No. 4,943,435,which was assigned to Elan of Athlone, Ireland. The Dec. 2hearing to act on a request for a preliminary injunction againstAlza and MMD has been rescheduled for this Friday.

Elan in May sued Cygnus Therapeutic Systems Inc. of RedwoodCity, Calif., which has licensed its nicotine patch to KabiPharmacia. Kabi granted U.S. rights to the patch, which is notyet being marketed, to Warner-Lambert.

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