BURROUGHS REJECTS NIH'S AZT CLAIMWASHINGTON -- Burroughs Wellcome Co. has rejectedgovernment contentions that the National Institutes of Healthshould be accorded co-inventorship status for the AIDS drugAZT.

"Burroughs Wellcome was the first to conceive of the use of thecompound AZT for the treatment of HIV infection," a companyspokeswoman said on Thursday. "It was this creative insightthat is the basis for the use patent that was granted to us in1988.

"Our company takes strong exception to any contention thatresearchers outside Burroughs Wellcome have any claim toinventorship on retrovir-related patents," she said.

The Burroughs statements come in the wake of claims made byNIH Director Bernadine Healy that NIH researchers should havebeen named as co-inventors of AZT. The NIH announced onTuesday that it would consider granting Barr Laboratories Inc.a license to manufacture AZT if the NIH is granted intellectualproperty rights to the AIDS drug. Barr's right to manufactureand sell a generic version of AZT is the subject of litigation withBurroughs. -- Steve Usdin


Enzo Biochem Inc. on Thursday said that holders of its 9percent convertible subordinated debentures due March 15,2001, have called both the principal and interest due on thedebentures. Enzo, based in Farmingdale, N.Y., had defaulted onthe debenture agreement by failing to make a $1.35 millioninterest payment that was due March 15. Enzo said it isdiscussing restructuring the obligation with representatives ofa majority of the debenture holders. A spokeswoman declined todiscuss the options being considered. The company developsDNA probes and antisense therapeutics. Its stock (AMEX:ENZ)closed at $1.38 on Thursday, down 13 cents.

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