Promega: to Provide Detail Supporting Billion Dollar Fraud Action Against Hoffman LaRoche

CONTACT:
Roger Larrick, Director, Marketing Communications of Promega
Corporation, 608-277-2545, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis., June 30 — A Federal Court in Virginia today invited Promega Corporation to provide additional detail supporting its False Claims Act complaint against Hoffmann LaRoche and its partner, Applera Corporation. Specifically, the Court requested Promega to provide further facts regarding the ” … who, what, when, where and how of the fraud … ” arising out of sales of Taq and related products to the government and universities throughout the country. Promega welcomes the opportunity to share with the Court and the public thousands of examples of such overcharges. The Court dismissed, without prejudice, the pending complaint. Promega will file an amended complaint with specific examples within 14 days.

“We certainly have a significant amount of evidence supporting the fraud schemes alleged in the initial Complaint,” noted Dr. Randall Dimond, Promega Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. “We will amend the complaint immediately to address the Court’s request.”

This suit, which was originally filed in April of 2000 and kept under seal pending review by the U.S. Justice Department until November of last year, alleges that Roche and Applera systematically overcharged the U.S. Government and its agencies for products used in biomedical research, forensics and diagnostics. Overcharges were accomplished by a variety of schemes, many of which relied upon the ‘818 patent covering the Taq enzyme, which was obtained by inequitable conduct. Such schemes include requiring the payment of royalties for use of Taq, tying the sales of Taq to other products, and deceptive licensing practices.

Following an unsuccessful appeal by Hoffman La Roche in a related matter, Judge Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently ruled, in a case covering the same Taq patent, ” … the court concludes above that inequitable conduct occurred during the prosecution of the ‘818 patent on the basis of a number of misrepresentations. This conclusion demonstrates that a number of unconscionable acts occurred during the prosecution of the ‘818 Patent … the court holds unenforceable the ‘818 patent.”

Promega Corporation is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. The company’s 1,200 products enable scientists worldwide to advance their knowledge in genomics, proteomics, cellular analysis, molecular diagnostics and human identification. Founded in 1978, the company is headquartered in Madison, WI, USA with branches in 10 countries and 54 global distributors. Annual sales exceed $150 million. For more information about Promega, visit http://www.promega.com/ .