Roche, Gilead End Dispute Over Tamiflu
11.16.2005, 04:53 AM
Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said Wednesday that it has ended a dispute
with U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. over the manufacture of Tamiflu.
Roche and Gilead said they will establish a joint committee to oversee
coordination of global manufacturing of Tamiflu, or oseltamivir, and a
coordination panel for the commercialization of the drug for seasonal sales
in the most important markets, including the United States.
Gilead will also have the option to co-promote Tamiflu in specialized areas
in the United States, the companies said.
Experts consider the drug the most efficient treatment in case of an
outbreak of human influenza caused by a mutation of the bird flu virus H5N1,
which has so far caused a deadly epidemic among birds.
"The redefined agreement with Gilead is an important step," said William M.
Burns, chief executive of Roche's pharmaceuticals business. "Together, Roche
and Gilead will be able to focus their efforts even more on making sure that
the needs for this medicine can be met, both for the treatment and
prevention of seasonal influenza as well as for the worldwide stockpiling
for pandemic plans."
The agreement ends a dispute dating back to June, when Gilead - based in
Foster City, California - charged Roche with failing to adequately promote
and produce the drug and invoked a contract clause to demand the return of
all commercial and manufacturing rights. Roche has denied the charges.
Tamiflu was invented in 1996 by scientists at Gilead, which quickly sold all
commercial rights and manufacturing responsibility in exchange for annual
royalties to Roche, which assembles various parts of the capsuled drug in 13
Roche shares gained 0.5 percent to 194.40 Swiss francs (US$147.72;
euro125.98) in Zurich trading.