An unusual lawsuit between the University of Pennsylvania, the university’s Abramson Cancer Center and Agios Pharmaceuticals over alleged intellectual property theft has been dropped and has been transformed into a licensing deal, according to a statement on behalf of the three groups.
Penn, the Abramson Cancer Center and Agios declined to comment beyond a couple of press statements:
“Agios Pharmaceuticals and The University of Pennsylvania (’Penn’) today announced that, in connection with the resolution of litigation announced earlier today, Agios and Penn have entered into a licensing agreement involving new intellectual property focused on the development of diagnostic products to detect the metabolism of certain cancers. The collaboration could result in significant benefits to cancer patients, as well as financial benefits to Agios, Penn and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.Advertisement
The focus of the $1 billion suit was Dr. Craig Thompson, the former scientific director of the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute from 1999 until October 2011, and current president and CEO of the Sloane Kettering Cancer Research Institute, who was listed as a co-founder of Agios on the company’s website, according to the complaint. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Agios and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) were named as co-defendants in the complaint.
The complaint, which was filed in federal court in New York, alleged that Thompson, who oversaw and managed the institute’s cancer cell biology program, fraudulently misrepresented the nature and results of his work on cancer metabolism research at the institute to avoid meeting disclosure requirements. It also alleged that Thompson stole the institute’s intellectual property on cancer metabolism and used it as the basis to form a for-profit company that later became Agios Pharmaceuticals, without informing the university.
Agios and Celgene formed a strategic collaboration in 2010 to work on cancer metabolism, according to the complaint.
The metabolic research of cancer cells that will go towards developing novel therapeutics combines biology, metabolomics, biochemistry and informatics to identify key metabolic targets and biomarkers in cancer and other diseased cells, according to Agios’ website.
A statement from Dr. Chi Van Dang, the director of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn said:
“We are pleased to be moving forward in a collaborative manner around newly identified intellectual property…We look forward to working with Agios on this project and potentially other unrelated projects in the future.”
[Flickr Photo from K3V1NM]