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Promega to Appeal Dismissal of $1B False Claims Act Case against Roche, Applera

NEW YORK, Aug. 25 (GenomeWeb News) - Promega will appeal the dismissal of a $1 billion lawsuit it filed on behalf of the US Government against Hoffman-La Roche and Applera, the company said late yesterday.


A US Federal Court in Virginia dismissed the suit June 30. Promega said it will appeal the case to the US Federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


In the underlying claim, Promega of Madison, Wis., alleged that Roche "and its co-conspirators" overcharged the US Government and government agencies by charging royalty payments for Taq enzymes, and in doing so, diverted millions in US tax dollars that could otherwise have been used for research programs. Promega has claimed in a separate suit that the patents for these enzymes were obtained by inequitable conduct on Roche's part. The claim also accused Roche of "anticompetitive tying of sales of Taq to other products; deceptive licensing practices; and predatory threats of litigation," according to a statement released by Promega.


This action is based on the False Claims Act, also known as the Informer's Act or the Qui Tam Statute, which allows a private person to sue a person or company that knowingly submits false bills to the federal government. It is designed to encourage whistleblowers to come forward in order to prevent this type of fraud.


Roche and Promega have been engaged in patent litigation since 1992.


Lanny Davis, outside counsel for Roche, has previously told GenomeWeb that this False Claims Act suit by Promega was an attempt to get Roche to settle the underlying patent-related cases.

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