WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Attorney's Office has announced theconviction of two men on charges of conspiring to sell stolentrade secrets relating to Schering-Plough Corp.'s alphainterferon, Intron-A, and Merck & Co.'s anti-parisitic drugivermectin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McKenna said the men, BernardMayles and Mario Miscio, also were convicted by a U.S. DistrictCourt jury in Newark, N.J., of interstate transport of stolenproperty and 10 counts of mail and wire fraud.

The two face up to 65 years in prison and fines in the millionsof dollars, according to McKenna. Sentencing has been set forMay 20.

"Because of the value of the product, this is one of the mostsignificant industrial espionage cases in the country," McKennasaid.

Mayles and Miscio were arrested last August as they allegedlyattempted to hand over proprietary information relating toivermectin to an undercover FBI agent. The indictment said theagent had agreed to pay $1.5 million for the transaction, andthat Mayles and Miscio had also negotiated to sell secrets aboutalpha interferon for $6 million to $8 million.

Mayles had held senior scientific posts at Merck and Schering.At the time of the arrest, Miscio was director of a smallpharmacological consulting firm.

-- Rachel Nowak Washington Bureau Chief

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