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Roche, Life Tech, Gen-Probe Sued by Enzo for Patent Infringement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Enzo Life Sciences is suing Roche, Life Technologies, and Gen-Probe alleging they infringe a patent pertaining to labeled nucleotides for use as diagnostic tools and as therapeutic agents.

In three lawsuits filed Jan. 30 in US District Court for the District of Delaware, Enzo claims that the companies infringe US Patent No. 6,992,180 titled "Oligo- or polynucleotides comprising phosphate-moiety labeled nucleotides" that was issued five years ago to inventors in New York and has been assigned to Enzo.

Enzo is asking for damages from each firm, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions against them from further infringing the patent. If a permanent injunction is not granted, Enzo wants to be awarded compulsory ongoing license fees.

It is asking for a jury trial for each case.

According to the '180 patent abstract, the invention pertains to a nucleotide comprising a phosphate moiety, sugar moiety, and a pyrimidine, purine, or 7-deazapurine moiety. Also provided is an oligo- or polynucleotide "comprising at least one such phosphate-moiety-labeled nucleotide, and other compositions, including those wherein a polypeptide is terminally ligated or attached to the oligo- or polynucleotide."

The phosphate-moiety-labeled nucleotides can be used to detect analytes and as therapeutic agents, according to the abstract.

In one lawsuit naming Roche Molecular Systems, Roche Diagnostics Corp., and Roche Diagnostics Operations as defendants, Enzo claims that certain nucleic acid probe products using Life Technologies' TaqMan probes infringe on its patent. Roche has a licensing deal with Life Tech to use the probes for diagnostic purposes.

Roche products that Enzo claims infringe the '180 patent include the cobas AmpliPrep/cobas TaqMan HIV-1 tests; cobas AmpliPrep/cobas TaqMan HIV-1 tests v. 2.0; cobas AmpliPrep/cobas TaqMan HCV tests; cobas AmpliPrep/cobas TaqMan HBV tests v. 2.0; cobas TaqMan HCV tests v. 2.0 for use with the High Pure System; cobas TaqMan HBV tests for use with the High Pure System; cobas TaqScreen MPX tests; and cobas TaqScreen West Nile Virus tests.

Enzo's lawsuit against Life Tech alleges infringement by products based on TaqMan probes, as well as TaqMan Gene Expression assays; TaqMan SNP Genotyping assays; TaqMan Protein assays; TaqMan Copy Number assays; TaqMan MicroRNA assays; and TaqMan Non-coding RNA assays.

Enzo is alleging in a third lawsuit that certain Gen-Probe products infringe the product. They include products involving Gen-Probe's hybridization protection assay; Aptima Combo assays; Aptima CT assays; Aptima GC assays; Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis assays; Aptima HPV assays; Aptima HIV-1 assays, and Aptima HCV assays.

Spokespeople for Roche, Life Tech and Gen-Probe declined to comment on the lawsuits.