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Celsis In Vitro Sues Invitrogen, CellzDirect for Patent Infringement

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Celsis In Vitro has filed a lawsuit against Life Technologies' Invitrogen business and CellzDirect alleging infringement of a patent covering technology related to cryopreserving hepatocytes.

Celsis filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago on Tuesday and has moved for a preliminary injunction.

In the filing, Celsis alleges the two companies are infringing US Patent No. 7,604,929, which relates to processes and methods for producing cryopreserved hepatocytes. Celsis claims that CellzDirect, which is owned by Invitrogen, uses methods and processes associated with its in vitro drug testing services and its pooled cryopreserved hepatocyte products that infringe the patent.

In addition, Celsis alleges Invitrogen is selling the infringing products and services and inducing infringement of the patent.

In its complaint, Celsis said that CellzDirect and Invitrogen became aware by March 2008 that a patent for its technology was pending and eventually that the US Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent to Celsis in October 2009.

Invitrogen and CellzDirect continue to sell pooled multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte products "produced from infringing processes and methods and continue to use pooled multi-cryopreserved products from infringed processes and methods for its drug testing services, all of which have infringed and continue to infringe at least one claim of the [patent] in willful and wanton disregard" of Celsis' patent rights, Celis said.

A spokesman for Life Tech said the company has no comment on the suit.

Celsis' technology combines hepatocytes from multiple donors "to create large lots with targeted activity levels," the company said in a statement. The end result is a product that "speeds up decision making and reduces the time and cost of drug research."

The company's Liverpool products are based on the technology.

Celsis is seeking an undisclosed amount in monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Celsis is a subsidiary of Celsis Holdings, itself a subsidiary of Celsis International, and provides specialized in vitro products for the study of metabolism, drug-drug interactions, and toxicity in drug discovery and development. Its principal place of business is in Baltimore and its corporate office is in Chicago.

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