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Enzo Awarded $49 Million in Trial Against Life’s Applera Unit

By Susan Decker

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Enzo Biochem Inc. was awarded $48.6 million after a federal jury said Life Technologies Corp.’s Applera unit infringed a patent over a way to detect genetic sequences and diagnose human diseases such as cancer.

The federal jury in New Haven, Connecticut, rejected Applera’s claims that the patent was invalid. Enzo said it will ask for interest that could add tens of millions of dollars to the final damage award.

The suit was first filed in 2004 by New York-based Enzo and Yale University. They were demanding royalties on Life’s genetic research and screening. The trial focused on Applera’s dRhodamine and BigDye Terminator products used to sequence DNA. The patent, issued in 1995, has since expired.

Enzo said the verdict could help it resolve cases it filed against other companies including Amersham Plc, Life’s Molecular Probes and Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings’ Orchid Cellmark.

“The technologies subject to the litigation helped pave the way for major developments in important areas in biological science and medicine,” Enzo Chief Executive Officer Elazar Rabbani said in a statement. “The case has taken eight years, but we have finally prevailed. It is a vindication of the investments we have made in developing and protecting our intellectual property.”

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton, who presided over the trial, in 2007 invalidated the patent, only to have it revived by an appeals court.

The case is Enzo Biochem Inc. v. Applera Corp., 04-cv-929, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut (New Haven).

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