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Genzyme and Cytochroma settle out of court


US biotechnology company Genzyme has reached an out-of-court settlement with rival firm Cytochroma over alleged misappropriation by Cytochroma staff of vitamin D-related trade secrets owned by Genzyme. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Genzyme filed the complaint in August 2006, in a US court in Wisconsin, claiming that three former staff of Bone Care International (BCI) applied for patents on new Vitamin D products based on “confidential and proprietary information” from within BCI, a company Genzyme bought in July 2005 for an estimated US$600m.

In September 2006, the three former employees started up a new company, Proventiv, which was recently purchased by Cytochroma, a Canadian firm that develops products to treat Vitamin D deficiency and chronic kidney disease. The three individuals became executive officers in Cytochroma.

Commenting on the decision, Cytochroma board chairman Dr Alan Lewis said the company “has remained on track for meeting its financing and clinical development milestones despite the intercurrent lawsuit. The recent settlement with Genzyme adds further momentum to Cytochroma for achieving its corporate objectives”.

Cytochroma currently has a psoriasis candidate drug in phase II clinical development and is developing a portfolio of products to address hyperphosphataemia in chronic kidney disease, including novel antibody products.

BCI, a company that specialised in vitamin D products, was best-known for its vitamin D drug Hectoral® (vitamin D pro-hormone), which is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients undergoing chronic renal dialysis.

PharmaTimes 17/04/2007

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