Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Order In The Court! New Date for Biogen/Elan Hearing

Partners-turned-adversaries Biogen Idec and Elan Corp. will have their day in court sooner than expected. Yesterday, the presiding judge, Deborah Batts, ordered that the first hearing be moved up a week to tomorrow, Thurs. Sept. 3, at 11:00AM. (Here's a pdf of the court order.)Batts also ordered three of Elan's documents stricken from the record.

Company officials confirmed to IN VIVO the last-minute schedule change but declined to comment either on the cause or on the documents. The stricken documents, which Judge Deborah Batts deemed "extraneous" in her order, are Elan's 25-page "hearing memorandum," a "findings of fact and conclusions of law," and the affadavit of Elan outside counsel Charles Gilman in support of the papers.

The case centers on a major deal Elan cut with Johnson & Johnson and announced in July. Elan is selling J&J 18% of the company, about $1.5 billion, and handing over rights to its Alzheimer's disease programs. But it's also agreed to give J&J the option to finance a buyout of Biogen's rights to multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri if Biogen is ever subject to a change of control.

Biogen pounced on the financing option deal, saying Elan had made an unauthorized transfer, or "assignment," of rights. It accused Elan of a breach of contract and threatened termination (which would give Biogen full Tysabri rights). Elan countered with a suit asking for a preliminary injunction to prevent termination.

Judge Batts could rule tomorrow on the injunction, on the full breach-of-contract matter, or on neither. - Alex Lash

(Image courtesy of flickrer Diane M. Byrne used with permission through a creative commons license.)

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