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ICN to License Hepatitis-Fighters to Schering-Plough

November 15, 2000|From Bloomberg News

ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to license as many as three hepatitis-fighting compounds to Schering-Plough Corp. to settle a research dispute, ICN said in a document filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agreement was reached after Schering-Plough accused the Costa Mesa drug maker of improperly hiring former Schering-Plough researchers, ICN said in the quarterly filing. Schering-Plough also said ICN improperly conducted hepatitis C research, the filing said.

Under a partnership for the past five years, Schering-Plough sells ICN's ribavirin hepatitis C drug in the U.S. and Europe and pays ICN royalties. It combines ribavirin with its own Intron A in the U.S. as Rebetron and in Europe as Rebetol.

The new licensing agreement allows Schering-Plough to license other hepatitis C compounds that ICN may develop and handle the development costs and regulatory approvals.

"We hired several scientists who had experience at Schering-Plough, and Schering-Plough wanted to make sure they had access to the research capabilities of these scientists who had freely come to ICN. They were sensitive to the hiring," said Jack Sholl, an ICN spokesman.Schering-Plough declined comment.

ICN said in the government filing that it also gave Schering-Plough the first and final right to license compounds related to the treatment of infectious diseases or cancer and to license levovirin, the next-generation version of its ribavirin, and viramidine.

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