CEM Corporation has recently published a press release claiming to have won a “patent dispute” with Biotage. The so called “patent dispute” relates to Biotage’s filing of opposition against certain patents of CEM in Europe (Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain) and Japan, because Biotage believes that the patents as originally granted give CEM a broader protection than CEM is entitled to.
In April 2013 the Japanese Patent Office found that CEM’s patent, relating to microwave assisted solid phase peptide synthesis, is invalid.
Also the European Patent Office found that the scope of the corresponding European patent should be restricted.
The decisions by both patent offices were taken in response to the requests filed by Biotage. The decisions are open to appeal by both parties.
Biotage’s instruments for microwave assisted organic chemistry have been used in the scientific community since the late 1990s. Scientists took advantage of these early Biotage instruments to carry out microwave-assisted peptide synthesis more than ten years ago, even before CEM filed their first patent application in this field.
As early as in 2002, Professor Gogoll and his team at Uppsala University published an article entitled “Rapid Microwave-Assisted Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis” using a Biotage instrument.
This is part of Biotage’s heritage in the peptide synthesis business, which led the company to put more dedicated efforts into the peptide synthesis area, culminating in the launch of the Biotage® Syro Wave™ in 2010.
In 2012 Biotage launched the successful Biotage® Initiator+ Alstra™, which is the company’s latest automated microwave peptide synthesizer.
“Biotage of course respects third party patent rights. I am surprised that CEM claims that we are in a dispute and even more that they claim to have won. This is an ongoing discussion on what the fair scope of these patents is, if any. The CEM patents concerned do not cover Biotage’s line of instruments for microwave assisted peptide synthesis. All synthesis protocols preinstalled in the Biotage instruments are outside the patents, even as originally granted. The situation is the same with the corresponding US patents. This means that customers all over the world can continue to use Biotage’s microwave peptide synthesizers with the preinstalled methods. Peptide synthesis is a product area where Biotage will continue to grow and deliver exciting products to the market.” says Torben Jörgensen, CEO of Biotage.