More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Biogen to sue rival over MS drugs

12:26 EDT Monday

Cambridge, Mass.-based drug maker Biogen Inc. plans to file a lawsuit against rival Serono SA within 30 days, alleging the company engaged in "unfair competition" because of claims made about Rebif, the Swiss company's competing multiple sclerosis medicine.

The companies have been engaged in a legal battle since Serono released a study claiming Rebif works better than Biogen's own multiple sclerosis drug, Avonex, which is produced exclusively at Research Triangle Park. Biogen disputed the results and won a temporary injunction barring Serono from claiming that Rebif better prevents relapses and reduces lesions on the brain.

A Geneva court upheld the injunction, blocking Serono from making such claims to the public, Biogen said. But Serono executives said the court will allow them to share the results of the study with doctors and other medical personnel.

Biogen executives must file a lawsuit to get a permanent injunction or win a wider one. They said previously that they would probably file no matter how the Geneva court ruled initially because the upheld injunction would only remain in place while a full lawsuit was pursued.

Geneva-based Serono at the moment sells its Rebif medicine outside the United States because of exclusive marketing rights held by Biogen. To enter the lucrative U.S. market, Serono has to prove Rebif is better than Avonex.

Copyright 2001 American City Business Journals Inc