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Arbitrators Allow Exiqon to Sell LNA Products to Pharmaceutical Market

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Arbitrators have sided with Exiqon, allowing it to market locked nucleic acid-based LNA amidites and LNA oligonucleotides to the pharmaceutical market, the Danish firm announced today.

The decision by an arbitration court ends proceedings initiated by Exiqon last year against Santaris Pharma in a dispute over the LNA products.

Santaris was established when Cureon, a company Exiqon founded to develop LNA-based therapeutics, merged with Panteco. Exiqon and Santaris had co-ownership of the LNA technology.

In March Exiqon told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Gene Silencing News that under a licensing deal with Santaris, it held all rights to the LNA technology outside of therapeutics. But the firms disagreed over rights to certain uses of the technology.

In September 2010, Exiqon took legal action against Santaris for breach of contract and patent violation. Today's decision dismisses Santaris' request to prohibit Exiqon from selling to the pharmaceutical market and allows both companies to sell LNA products to firms in that space.

Arbitrators also dismissed Santaris' claims for DKK 100 million ($18 million) in damages, as well as damages sought by Exiqon. Today's decision, Exiqon added, is expected to impact its EBITDA by about DKK10 million.

Lars Kongsbak, CEO of Exiqon, said in a statement that its LNA technology "serves as the foundation for Exiqon's commitment to develop and help propel the development of novel molecular diagnostic products. … Proceedings against Santaris Pharma were an unfortunate but necessary step toward realizing our business goals."