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BURROUGHS WELLCOME SUES NOVOPHARM FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

BURROUGHS WELLCOME SUES NOVOPHARM FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT
 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Burroughs Wellcome Co. filed a Complaint for Patent infringement in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina, New Bern Division against Novapharm, Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill., on Sept. 21, 1992.
 This action follows release of a press statement by Novopharm announcing its intention to engage in the commercial manufacture, use and sale of a generic AZT subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Novopharm has filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA seeking its approval to market a generic copy of Retrovir(R) brand zidovudine (AZT). Novopharm says it is expecting to receive a license from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) based upon the claim that NIH scientists should have been co-inventors on the Burroughs Wellcome patents. Burroughs Wellcome denies any such rights.
 Yesterday, Burroughs Wellcome moved the court to consolidate the action against Novopharm (Civil Action No. 92-134-CIV-4-H) with an earlier case filed by Burroughs Wellcome against Barr Laboratories, Inc. of New York (Civil Action No. 91-41-CIV-4-H) which the company filed May 14, 1991. Trial in the Barr lawsuit has been set to begin May 3, 1993.
 Burroughs Wellcome said the conception of the use of the compound AZT for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was made solely by Burroughs Wellcome scientists. This creative insight is the basis of a "Method of Use" patent which the company received in 1988.
 "There appears to be an attempt by the government and others, after the fact, to redefine the relationship between industry and government in the development of AZT," said Paul A. Holcombe, Jr., vice president and general counsel at Burroughs Wellcome. "The reality is that Burroughs Wellcome conceived of the compound's use under its own research program."
 Holcombe said Burroughs Wellcome has addressed erroneous claims about the validity of the AZT patents many times in the past and remains confident of its patent position with respect to Retrovir.
 Retrovir, which has been marketed by Burroughs Wellcome in the United States since March 1987, is the first antiretroviral drug indicated for the treatment of adults and children with HIV infection and AIDS.
 Burroughs Wellcome Co. is a research-based pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Wellcome Foundation Ltd. (Wellcome plc), an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in London.
 -0- 09/30/92
 CONTACT: Kathy Bartlett of Burroughs Wellcome Co., 919-248-4302 CO: BURROUGHS WELLCOME CO.; NOVOPHARM, INC. IN: MTC ST: NC,IL -- CH001 -- X404 09/30/92
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1992
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