Bay Area Biotech Startup at Odds with Dana-Farber and Novartis Over Cancer Drug Rights

10/28/10

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about whether the molecules that were to be the foundation of Gatekeeper’s business are covered under the deal between Dana-Farber and Novartis. On October 15, an attorney for Gatekeeper’s board of directors filed a response to Dana-Farber’s original complaint, asking for the court to recognize the startup’s rights to the anti-cancer molecules covered in its option agreement with Dana-Farber. Also, the filing asks the court to rule that Novartis did not fund the research behind the technology. (Read the full text of Gatekeeper’s filing here.)

According to the cancer institute’s complaint, Novartis told Dana-Farber that the technology did fall under their research agreement in November 2009, months after Gatekeeper had secured an option to license the technology. That helped prompt the Dana-Farber internal review that ultimately sided with Novartis this August, according to court documents filed by both Dana-Farber’s attorneys and Chant’s lawyers.

In an October 18 motion to intervene in the case, Chant’s attorneys allege that Dana-Farber has already provided Novartis with details on the technology that Gatekeeper had agreed to license from Dana-Farber, in violation of an agreement between Gatekeeper and the cancer institute. The filing also claims that Dana-Farber had conducted three separate investigations that concluded Novartis did not have rights to the technology, prior to the investigation this summer that reached the opposite conclusion. And it alleges that Novartis’ “improper” claim on the intellectual property caused pharma companies and venture firms to withdraw from negotiations with Gatekeeper, causing the startup “significant damage.”

Chant, whose motion says he is a 13 percent shareholder in Gatekeeper, has also said in the filing that his own board of directors have “removed him from … Next Page »

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