Histogen Inc. is declaring victory after a Southern California judge’s decision that its technique for growing human skin cells does not infringe a pair of patents covering SkinMedica’s NouriCel product line.
It’s the second time San Diego-based Histogen, which is primarily focused on regenerative medicine solutions for wound care, has touted a win from U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino. The judge sided with Histogen on how the patents’ claims should be construed.
Now Sammartino has ruled that Histogen does not infringe either patent with its method for culturing skin cells, which uses microbeads to assemble a lattice of cells.
"The key question is whether the court construed the disputed claim element to exclude all types of growth using beads, or merely the growth of cells on beads. The court agrees with Histogen that the use of microcarrier beads was excluded from the construction of ‘culturing . . . cells in three-dimensions,’ and that as a result the accused products do not infringe this claim element, rendering summary judgment of noninfringement appropriate," Sammartino wrote, according to court documents. "SkinMedica cannot re-argue the court’s construction of the disputed claim element in opposing the instant motion. The court finds that the disputed claim element as construed, ‘excluding growing … cells in monolayers or on microcarrier beads,’ is not limited to two-dimensional culture methods on beads.
"SkinMedica’s premise is contrary to the patent history and contrary to the court’s claim construction analysis. Thus, Histogen’s cell growth process, which uses beads, cannot infringe the disputed claim element as construed," she wrote.
“After nearly three years of patent litigation, we are excited to have confirmation that Histogen’s technology is unique, and free from any patent rights that SkinMedica has,” founder, chairwoman and CEO Gail Naughton said in prepared remarks. “This outcome was signaled by the court in its claim construction order earlier this year, and we are happy to now have this matter officially behind us.”
“The pathway is now clear for us to re-start our skin care business, using our proprietary conditioned medium in an array of cosmetic products. We are already talking with potential partners and distributors in a number of countries. Any residual litigation matters with SkinMedica will not prevent or delay us," added president David Nassif.
The lawsuit’s filing in 2009 sparked a group of angel investors in then-nascent Histogen to pull their $2.4 million investment, forcing the company to lay off its entire 36-member workforce, according to Xconomy.
Histogen has worked its way back to 21 employees and is pushing ahead with an Asian clinical trial for a hair-loss treatment, spokeswoman Eileen Naughton Brandt told the website.
Given Imaging sues Korean rival in patent spat
Given Imaging Ltd. (NSDQ:GIVN) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Intromedic Co. Ltd., accusing its South Korean rival of violating two patents it owns there.
The Israeli gastrointestinal imaging firm, which makes the PillCam, alleges that Intromedic’s MiroCam capsule endoscope infringes the patents, according to a press release.
For its part, Intromedic has begun parallel proceedings before the Korean Intellectual Property Office to invalidate the patents. Rulings are expected during the second half of 2012, according to the release.
It’s the second patent infringement suit filed by Given Imaging aimed at Intromedic and the MiroCam. Last March a German court ruled that the Korean device infringes two patents there. Intromedic has appealed that ruling, according to Given Imaging. Read more
Cooper Cos. shareholder sues over contact lens recall
A Cooper Cos. (NYSE:COO) shareholder sued the company over a contact lens recall issued by its CooperVision subsidiary.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, accuses the comapny and its management of making misleading statements about the lenses even as it prepared to pull YY million of the devices off the shelves.
Cooper began moving its contact lens operations from Norfolk, Va., to Puerto Rico and and U.K., according to court documents. The company said the shift would cut costs and raised its earnings forecast three times between March 4 and Nov. 15, according to the documents, sending share prices aboe $84 apiece.
But in August, the company pulled back some of the Avaira brand lenses made at the new Puerto Rico plant, eventually issuing a recall for some 6.6 million lenses that the FDA slapped with Class I status, its most serious recall level.
Share prices plunged, dropping 22 percent to below $57 on the news, according to the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial, class action status, damages, interest and legal costs.