In a blow to ImClone Systems Inc. and a triumph for a prominent Israeli research institution, a judge ruled that three scientists from Israel are the true inventors of a process used in the delivery of the blockbuster cancer drug, Erbitux.
US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Monday directed the US Patent and Trademark Office to replace seven names now on the controversial patent with those of Professor Michael Sela, Dr. Esther Aboud-Pirak and Dr. Esther Hurwitz. The three scientists made the pioneering cancer discovery at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehobot, Israel, in the late 1980s.
Lawyers had predicted the case could significantly affect the future of Erbitux, a colon-cancer treatment drug made by ImClone, the company whose founder, Sam Waksal, is serving a prison sentence for his role in the stock scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart.
The ruling means the company will lose exclusive rights to the process used to deliver the drug. Its patent had been due to expire in 2017.