Esoterix Genetic Laboratories has filed a lawsuit against Qiagen, claiming the German company breached a License Agreement signed in 2008 that involves a patent for detecting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.
In 2008, a British company called DxS Ltd, which was purchased by Qiagen in 2009, signed a License Agreement with Genzyme Corporation. This agreement allowed DxS to manufacture and sell test kits for detecting EGFR mutations that utilized US Patent No. 7,294,468 (’468) in exchange for royalty payments.
The ’468 patent, a “Method to determine responsiveness of cancer to epidermal growth factor receptor targeting treatments”, was originally assigned to The General Hospital Corporation, which does business as Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute on November 13, 2007.
But pursuant to an agreement announced on May 2, 2005, Genzyme Corporation, and not MGH and Dana Farber, actually had rights to the ’468 patent.
When LabCorp acquired Genzyme Corporation in December 2010, it created Esoterix to control the assets acquired from Genzyme, which included the rights to the ’468 patent.
The License Agreement DxS signed (and Qiagen assumed), allowed Qiagen to sell products utilizing the ’468 patent for non-commercial research only until the entire EGFR test kit gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).