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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Startling Revelations in UC-Genentech Battle
5 May 1999 6:00 pm
A former researcher at Genentech Inc. of South San Francisco has testified that he secretly removed a bacterial clone from a lab he had recently left at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, and transferred it to Genentech. That clone, according to court testimony filed last month, helped lead to one of Genentech's early achievements as a start-up company in 1979: a patent for the production of human growth hormone (HGH) by bacterial synthesis.
The shocking testimony came from Peter Seeburg, now acting director of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Seeburg was appearing as a witness for UC in a civil suit against Genentech, a court battle that has been stewing for several years. Alleging that Genentech has been violating UC's own patent on growth hormone, the university is asking the court to award damages of about $400 million, according to a UC attorney. This is what UC would have earned, the university calculates, if Genentech had paid HGH license fees. In addition, the university is asking for triple damages, on grounds that Genentech's actions were "willful."
Seeburg testified that he decided to use the clones he had developed at UC to get a more complete genetic sequence that could be put in bacteria for mass production. Genentech was awarded a patent for this technique in 1982. To cover up the deed, Seeburg admitted in court that he published false "technical" data in a 1979 Nature paper on how Genentech staffers cloned the DNA sequence it patented.
Genentech, which began to present its own evidence on 3 May, denies that it infringed the UC patent. Although company officials were not available to comment, trial transcripts indicate that their attorneys denied that they took or encouraged anyone to take material from UC labs.
Only about half the evidence has been presented so far in this trial, and there could be more surprises before the end. Barring an early settlement, this complicated dispute will go to the jury for a decision by the end of the month.