By Mark Chael --
An intellectual property lawsuit is slated to begin on March 12, 2007, pitting Genzyme Corp. against three executives at a Canadian firm, Cytochroma, which is developing therapies for vitamin D deficiency and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Genzyme alleges that the executives misappropriated trade secrets and other intellectual property prior to joining Cytochroma.
In early 2005, Genzyme acquired Bone Care International, a spinoff from the University of Wisconsin, for a reported $600 million. There are 38 U.S. patents and about 22 pending U.S. patent applications that list Bone Care as the assignee. Later, in September, 2005, a company called Proventiv Therapeutics was founded by former employees of Bone Care. Thereafter, in 2006, Cytochroma acquired Proventiv. Cytochroma recently completed a round of venture financing to start human clinical trials on drug compounds for treating vitamin D deficiency in patients with kidney disease.
Genzyme's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (06-C-0428-S), alleges that the three Cytochroma executives, who were former Bone Care and Proventiv employees, used Bone Care trade secrets while they were working at Proventiv to develop CKD treatments that were later acquired by Cytochroma. The executives contend that the compounds they were working on at Proventiv were in the public domain.