Schering-Plough Corp. on Monday said it has sued SterlingWinthrop Inc., alleging that Sterling infringed Schering's patenton interleukin-4 by using the immune stimulant in the UnitedStates.

The suit charges that Sterling intends to sell IL-4 in the UnitedStates prior to the patent's expiration.

Immunex Corp. of Seattle had licensed its IL-4 to Montvale,N.J.-based Sterling, but has no patent on the protein, Immunexspokesman Jason Rubin told BioWorld.

"I would say this suit is unnecessary," Rubin told BioWorld."Sterling has indicated to us, independent of the suit, that theyare electing not to develop IL-4."

In response, Schering spokesman Steve Galpin said, "That wasnot our understanding, based on the complaint that we filed"last Friday.

Sterling has been conducting Phase II studies of the cytokine inkidney cancer, B cell lymphoma and melanoma. Sterlingspokeswoman Diane Iselin said the company would notcomment until it could review documents relating to the suit.

Schering-Plough of Madison, N.J., is conducting Phase I/IItesting of IL-4 in multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease andlung cancer, and is also interested in its potential for other solidtumors and immunologic disorders.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. BioWorld Staff

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