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IGEN Wins Summary Judgment on Roche's Counterclaim for Fraud.

Court Strikes Roche's Request for Punitive Damages

GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 26 /PRNewswire/ --

At a pretrial hearing today in litigation brought by IGEN International, Inc. (Nasdaq: IGEN) against Roche Diagnostics, a division of F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd. (OTC Bulletin Board: RHHBY), the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, granted summary judgment in IGEN's favor dismissing Roche's counterclaim for fraud and struck down Roche's request for punitive damages.

Roche's fraud counterclaim had charged IGEN with misrepresenting its intentions regarding the rights that IGEN previously had granted to another licensee, Eisai Co., Ltd. Roche had filed a similar counterclaim against IGEN in 1998, but the Court dismissed it in 1999, finding that Roche failed to provide evidence to support its claim. Roche re-filed its fraud claim a year later, arguing that the record evidence would now support its claim. The Court disagreed and granted summary judgment in IGEN's favor. Roche will not be permitted to assert this counterclaim a third time.

Today's hearing is the second in the last two months to result in dismissal of one of Roche's counterclaims. On January 29, the Court dismissed Roche's tortious interference counterclaim and disallowed Roche's request for injunctive relief. With today's ruling, Roche is left without a claim against IGEN that would support an award of punitive damages. Roche's only remaining counterclaim charges IGEN with breach of contract, a charge IGEN believes is without merit. IGEN intends to vigorously oppose this last counterclaim at trial.

At the January 29 hearing, the Court cleared the way for IGEN to proceed with all 14 of its claims against Roche, including claims for breach of contract and unfair competition, which would allow for an award of punitive damages. The court has set a trial date of October 23, 2001.

IGEN develops and markets biological detection systems based on its proprietary ORIGEN(R) technology, which provides a unique combination of sensitivity, reliability, speed, and flexibility. ORIGEN-based systems are used in a wide variety of applications, including clinical diagnostics, pharmaceutical research and development, life science research, and industrial testing for food safety and quality control. These systems are marketed by IGEN and its licensees and/or distributors -- Roche Diagnostics; Organon Teknika; Eisai Co., Ltd.; Sumitomo Corp.; and Sanko Junyaku Co., Ltd. IGEN and ORIGEN are registered trademarks of IGEN International, Inc. More information about the company can be found at http://www.igen.com .

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about the merits of a counterclaim and the expected starting date of the trial. Actual results might differ materially from these statements due to risks and uncertainties, including those associated with decisions made by the Court. More complete descriptions of the risks applicable to IGEN appear in the company's documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on request from the company. IGEN disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 27, 2001
Words:492
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