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Celyad CEO Accuses Cellectis (ALCLS)' Leader of Lying About CAR-T Patent

11/4/2016 5:46:37 AM

Celyad CEO Accuses Cellectis' Leader of Lying About CAR-T Patent November 4, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium – Christian Homsy, the chief executive officer of Celyad, blasted Cellectis (ALCLS) and its chief executive over a dispute regarding a patent claim for a CAR-T treatment.

Homsy said Cellectis’ CEO Andre Choulika made inappropriate and false statements regarding U.S. patent 9,181,527, which relates to allogeneic human primary T-Cells that are engineered to be T-Cell Receptor (TCR)-deficient and express a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR). During a Cellectis shareholder meeting on Oct. 27, Choulika allegedly claimed that Celyad’s patent for the CAR-T treatment was invalidated.

In a statement issued Thursday, Celyad said the U.S. Patent Office issued patent 9,181,527 on Nov. 10, 2015. Cellectis challenged the patent in February and the Patent Office granted Ex Parte Re-examination of the patent in March.

Although a re-examination of the patent has been granted, Homsy said that does not automatically invalidate Celyad’s patent. He said the company has prepared a “robust response” to Cellectis’ claims regarding the patent.

“An order granting a request for re-examination is not a determination by the USPTO that the claims are unpatentable or unenforceable but a routine step in a re-examination proceeding. Indeed in more than 90 percent of all cases, a request for re-examination is followed by a decision by the USPTO to re-examine the patent and to invite the patent owner to file a reply,” Celyad said in its statement.
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Georges Rawadi, vice president of business development at Celyad, said in a statement that the company believes the disputed patent is a “fundamental patents in the CAR-T field” and “holds great value” for the company. Immuno-therapy treatments are certainly a key for the Belgian company. In July, Celyad entered into a $311.5+ million licensing agreement with Ono Pharmaceuticals (OPHLY) of Japan for the company’s NKR-2 T-cell cancer immunotherapy treatment.

A hearing over the patent dispute has been scheduled, but no date was specified in Celyad’s statement. Until such a hearing has been held, Homsy said Choulika’s alleged comments during the shareholder meeting are “false and misleading.”

“We regret inappropriate and misleading comments have been made concerning our patent in a public forum. We believe the comments are defamatory and baseless. The process around our patent is clear and we remain confident in our position,” Homsy said in a statement. “Celyad has continuously stated that its objective is to help bring treatment options to patients. We have therefore offered our competitors access to this patent and will continue to do so.”

Cellectis though, disagrees with Celyad’s assessment of the validity of patent 9,181,527. In a statement to Endpoints, a Cellectis spokesperson said from that company’s view, the re-examination of the patent by the Patent Office is a clear rejection of Celyad’s claims.

“Claim one is rejected under 35 USC 103(a) as being unpatentable over Imai and Mineno,” the spokesperson told Endpoints.

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