SAN FRANCISCO -- Xoma Corp. was to begin opening argumentstoday in its patent infringement trial against Centocor Inc.involving the companies' competing drugs for gram-negativesepsis.

Xoma of Berkeley, Calif., sued Centocor in 1990, alleginginfringement of Xoma's U.S. patent No.4,918,163, which wasissued to the University of California and exclusively licensedto Xoma.

Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor countersued, denying that it hadinfringed and claiming that Xoma's patent was invalid andunenforceable. Centocor also contends that Xoma is attemptingto monopolize the market.

The six-member jury was chosen and sworn in on Monday inU.S. District Court here. Judge Robert H. Schnacke said heexpected the trial to run through mid-August and possibly intoSeptember.

Xoma stock (NASDAQ:XOMA) closed Monday at $27.25, up $1.25.Centocor stock (NASDAQ:CNTO) closed at $36.75, down 50cents.

Xoma's E5 and Centocor's Centoxin are both awaiting Food andDrug Administration approval. Centoxin has received Europeanmarketing approval. -- Karen Bernstein

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