SAN FRANCISCO -- A Federal Court judge on Thursday declinedto issue a restraining order sought by Genentech Inc. againstSmithKline Beecham Corp.'s advertisements of heart attackdrugs.
U.S. District Court Judge Lowell Jensen made the decision afterattorneys for SKB said the company no longer will run the ads.He was to issue a final ruling late Thursday or today.
The quick resolution of the case precludes what might havebeen a lively debate over the differences between two forms oftissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). This was to be a majorfocus of SKB's defense.
On Monday, Genentech filed suit to stop SKB from stating orimplying that the results of the ISIS-3 study on heart attackdrugs compare SKB's Eminase with Genentech's t-PA, soldunder the name Activase.
ISIS-3 actually compares only one version of t-PA, duteplase,with two other clot-busting drugs, Eminase and streptokinase.Study results are to be released on Saturday.
According to SKB spokesman Alan Wachter, much of SKB's filingin the Genentech suit focused on Genentech's own testimonyfrom its 1988 patent suit against the developers of duteplase,Burroughs Wellcome Co. and Genetics Institute.
In that suit, Genentech argued successfully that duteplase wasthe therapeutic equivalent of Activase. Last April, a DistrictCourt jury in Delaware found that Wellcome and GI hadinfringed three Genentech t-PA patents.
But in its suit against SKB, IGenentech did an about-face andsaid the products are significantly different," said Wachter. SKBhad planned to argue that the burden should be on Genentechto prove the two forms of t-PA are different, since Genentechhas already testified that they're not.
In response, Genentech spokesman Jack Murphy saidGenentech won the Delaware case under the doctrine ofequivalents. He described the two forms of t-PA as similar butnot identical.
Genentech controls two-thirds of the market for anti-thrombolytics compared with SKB's 9 percent share.
-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff
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