Biogen Idec, Inc. (Massachusetts) (BIIB) Asked in Suit to Return ALS Biosamples to Knopp NeuroSciences  
3/11/2013 8:42:01 AM

Knopp Neurosciences Inc. asked a federal judge to order Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), its partner in a failed attempt to develop a drug for Lou Gehrig’s disease, to turn over to Knopp biosamples from patient tests. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton scheduled an expedited trial without a jury in June on closely held Knopp’s breach of contract lawsuit against Biogen, according to a filing today in federal court in Boston. Knopp, based in Pittsburgh, sued Biogen Feb. 25 claiming it breached a licensing agreement the companies had to develop and market a drug to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Knopp wants Biogen to return the biosamples from its ALS trial, called Empower, and Biogen says it isn’t obligated to do so, according to the complaint. “The failure to preserve the Empower biosamples, and ultimately to investigate them using the right tools in the right hands, will represent a research setback during which time thousands of patients will have died of ALS,” Knopp said in its complaint. Gorton, at a hearing in Boston today, set four days for a bench trial beginning June 17. At the trial, he will also hear arguments on Knopp’s request for an injunction to prevent Biogen from destroying or studying any of the samples. Clinical Trial: Biogen, based in Weston, Massachusetts, said in January that the drug, dexpramipexole, failed to show any efficacy in a large clinical trial, in the third and final phase of studies generally required for regulatory approval. The drug had been thought to potentially slow the progression of ALS after promising signs in earlier studies.