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PATENT SUITS ON RECOMBINANT FERTILITY HORMONE; ARES-SERONO FILES APPEAL IN EUROPE

 BOSTON and GENEVA, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares-Serono Group announced today that it is appealing a decision handed down on July 6, 1993 by the President of the District Court of The Hague. The Court declined to grant the company a summary injunction against Organon International B.V. for infringement of its second European patent (No. 211,894) for recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (r-FSH) granted by the European Patent Office on March 24, 1993. Ares-Serono maintains that its patents are violated by Organon's clinical trial activity utilizing infringing r-FSH.
 Organon has, at no time, denied that its activities fall within the scope of Ares-Serono's patents. The President of the District Court observed that the clinical trials being conducted by Organon would not allow it to take advantage of a research exemption which shelters otherwise infringing activity. However, he declined to grant Ares- Serono injunctive relief in summary proceedings, largely in light of his assessment that the issues would be more appropriately heard in regular proceedings. This assessment will now be reviewed by the Court of Appeal in The Hague.
 The actions undertaken by Ares-Serono represent the initial phase in a litigation strategy to vigorously enforce its patents against any and all infringers.
 "Our strategy is to purse all available legal recourse to stop infringement of our patents anywhere in the world," said John Johnnidis, general counsel of The Ares-Serono Group. "While it may require time and tenacity to reach our goals, our request for summary relief is, in our opinion, a necessary step and may well be followed by regular patent proceedings. We are totally committed to reaching our objective."


Parallel Patent Litigation
 In parallel litigation against Organon, Ares-Serono recently lodged a summary appeal with the Netherlands Supreme Court regarding the infringement of its first patent (No. 160,699) on recombinant FSH granted by the European Patent Office on Aug. 12, 1992. Regular infringement proceedings are also pending.
 As indicated in earlier statements, similar litigation was also initiated last year in the United States against Organon for infringement of Ares-Serono's patents on r-FSH (Nos. 4,923,805 and 5,156,957) granted by the U.S. patent office on May 8, 1990 and Oct. 20, 1992, respectively. In that procedure, Organon indicated that it had withdrawn or destroyed the r-FSH and r-FSH-related biologic material it then had in the United States and was no longer "engaged in any additional activities relating to the importation, manufacture, use or sale of r-FSH or host cells to produce r-FSH in the U.S."
 Ares-Serono's patent position is expected to be further strengthened by a number of additional patents to be granted on recombinant fertility hormones.
 Ares-Serono's own recombinant follicle stimulating hormone, Gonal-F(R), is currently in the last clinical development stage in Europe and the United States. To date, several births of healthy babies have been obtained during these Phase III clinical trials.
 Follicle stimulating hormone is a human fertility hormone used in the treatment of female and male infertility. It is also prescribed in conjunction with assisted reproduction techniques treatment cycles such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
 The Ares-Serono Group is a leading Swiss developer and marketer of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products with executive headquarters in Geneva. World leader in the treatment of infertility, Ares-Serono has been committed to research and innovation in this field for almost 40 years. In 1992, The Group recorded sales of $854.5 million. Ares- Serono operates subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities in more than 20 countries. Shares of Ares-Serono S.A., the parent company of the Group, are traded on the Swiss stock exchanges.
 -0- 7/20/93
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella of Ares-Serono, 617-982-9000/


CO: Ares-Serono Group, Organon International B.V. ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:

DJ -- NE012 -- 6759 07/20/93 11:29 EDT
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Date:Jul 20, 1993
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