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7 April 2015Americas

Novartis pays Juno $12m in cancer patent licensing deal

US anti-cancer company Juno Therapeutics and a children’s hospital have settled their patent licensing suit with pharmaceutical business Novartis and the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

The case started as a contract dispute between the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and the University of Pennsylvania, based in Philadelphia.

In March 2013, the case was broadened at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to include a dispute between the pair over St Jude’s US patent number 8,399,645, which covers an invention for creating genetically modified immune cells to target cancer.

The University of Pennsylvania is developing anti-cancer technologies with Novartis’s financial backing.

Juno joined the fray in December 2013 when it entered into a licensing agreement with St Jude’s for use of the patent.

The US company makes therapies that mobilise the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It is developing chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells so that they recognise and kill cancer cells.

Under the terms of the settlement, announced yesterday (April 6), Novartis will initially pay Juno $12.25 million and then pay royalties on US net sales of any products related to the disputed contract and patent claims.

Payments will be shared between Juno and Jude under their licensing agreement terms.

Juno’s chief executive Hans Bishop said he was pleased with the settlement.

A spokesperson for Novartis confirmed to LSIPR: “Under the litigation settlement, all of the parties claims are dismissed.”

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