Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Schering confirms US lawsuit vs Novartis over MS drug Betaseron (Betaferon)

FRANKFURT (AFX) - Schering AG, which Bayer AG acquired this year, filed a suit in the US state of California last month alleging Novartis AG had breached certain clauses of a 1993 contract pertaining to the US production of multiple sclerosis medication Betaseron, a spokesman for Schering said.

The drug is known as Betaseron in the US, and Betaferon outside the US.

His comments came in reaction to a Financial Times Deutschland report which said Novartis (nyse: NVS - news - people ) AG and Bayer (nyse: BAY - news - people ) AG continue to disagree about the production of Betaseron for the US market even as they negotiate Bayer's future rights to the drug.

The Schering spokesman said the US suit is asking the court to order Novartis, parent of Chiron Corp, to implement certain clauses in a 1993 contract between Chiron and Schering relating to the transfer of Betaseron's US licensing rights back to Schering.

The spokesman said Schering owns Betaseron and under the 1993 contract, due to expire in 2008, Chiron produces the drug in the US on behalf of Schering.

The US complaint 'seeks specific performance of the portion of the 1993 agreement relating to transferring the Biologics License and Biologics License Application for Betaseron into the name of Schering,' he added.

He said separately from this complaint, Schering has been in talks with Chiron/Novartis since February 2006 regarding an option in the contract which Schering has exercised in order to allow the latter to acquire the assets needed to produce Betaseron in the US.




Copyright AFX News Limited 2006. All rights reserved.