Cetus Corp. and Erbamont Inc. announced Monday that theyhave ended their longstanding dispute over the anti-cancerdrug doxorubicin.

Cetus-Ben Venue Therapeutics, a joint venture between Cetusof Emeryville, Calif., and Ben Venue Laboratories of Bedford,Ohio, has agreed to a non-exclusive license of Erbamont's U.S.Patent No. 4,946,831. The patent, issued in August 1990, coversmethods to prepare liquid formulations of doxorubicin.

Cetus-Ben Venue, formed to sell generic anti-cancer drugs, willpay royalties. Further details about the license were notdisclosed.

Erbamont, of Stamford, Conn., will supply Cetus-Ben Venuewith doxorubicin for U.S. and Canadian sales. Erbamont's Italianaffiliate, Farmitalia Carlo Erba S.r.L., will supply the drug forEuropean sales through Cetus' EuroCetus B.V. subsidiary.

The contract will give Cetus-Ben Venue an uninterruptedmultiyear supply of doxorubicin, said Cetus President HollingsC. Renton. Cetus-Ben Venue sales of doxorubicin and five otheranti-cancer drugs totaled $33 million in fiscal year 1990.

Sutro analyst Margaret McGeorge estimated that Cetus-BenVenue controls 25 percent to 30 percent of the more than $100million U.S. market. Adriamycin, Erbamont's doxorubicin,controls 60 percent of the market, she added. Other playersinclude Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Erbamont filed a complaint with the International TradeCommission (ITC) in May 1989 seeking to block U.S. sales ofdoxorubicin products by both Cetus (NASDAQ:CTUS) and Squibb(NYSE:BMY). Erbamont argued that both companies' productsinfringed Erbamont's exclusive rights to an earlier doxorubicinpatent licensed from Farmitalia Carlo-Erba. That patent expireda few days ago.

The ITC ruled in favor of both Cetus and Squibb last October.Squibb also cleared itself of infringement in Delaware FederalCourt by arguing that it no longer imported doxorubicin for U.S.sales.

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.