BD acquired small diagnostics company HandyLab (Ann Arbor, Mich.) in 2009 for $275 million. HandyLab was developing bench-top devices for fast and early detection of diseases, according to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware. BD claims it invested heavily in developing and improving the HandyLab technology using its own related diagnostics technologies and expertise to create the BD Max automated molecular system, designed to perform a range of molecular tests. The company launched BD Max in 2010 in Europe and in the U.S. the following year.
In 2012, former HandyLab CEO Jeffrey Williams founded Molecular Systems Corp., which subsequently became NeuMoDx. HandyLab co-founder Sundaresh Brahmasandra joined the company months later as president. Williams and Brahamsandra are named inventors on two of the six patents that BD claims it acquired with HandyLab and “have long been aware of the inventions and patented technologies” associated with those patents.
“NeuMoDx has been and is today utilizing the same patented technologies that BD acquired from HandyLab and developed into the BD MAX™ System,” BD says in its claim. “NeuMoDx has infringed and continues to infringe the Asserted Patents by making, using (including during research and development activities and product testing), offering for sale, selling and/or importing at least NeuMoDx’s molecular diagnostics products, or inducing or contributing to such acts.”
BD and its subsidiaries claim they are suffering “severe competitive harm” due to the alleged infringement and are seeking injunctions against NeuMoDx.
“We were surprised to hear this morning that Becton, Dickinson and Company filed an infringement suit against NeuMoDx,” NeuMoDx CEO Jeff Williams said in a statement emailed to MassDevice. “We have a significant portfolio of patents and considerable subject matter expertise in molecular diagnostic system technology. We strongly believe that we do not violate the patents and will defend the action vigorously.”
Qiagen (NYSE:QGEN) is in the process of acquiring NeuMoDx for $234 million, subject to NeuMoDx achieving certain regulatory and operational milestones. Qiagen already owns 20% of NeuMoDx stock and is distributing the NeuMoDx 96 and NeuMoDx 288 instruments in Europe.
BD was sued in 2010 by Gen-Probe, which claimed that the BD Max system infringed several of Gen-Probe’s patents. The companies settled in 2012, with Gen-Probe granting BD a license to make, use and sell products that Gen-Probe had accused it of infringing. Hologic (NSDQ:HOLX) acquired Gen-Probe the same year.