Patent royalties suit against Harvard settled | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 27, 2016

Patent royalties suit against Harvard settled

Details of the agreement between former grad student Mark Charest and the school are undisclosed
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Organic SCENE
Keywords: intellectual property, policy, start-ups, business, synthesis, pharmaceuticals, royalties, lawsuit, TPPH
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Charest
Credit: Courtesy of Mark Charest
Photo of Mark G. Charest.
 
Charest
Credit: Courtesy of Mark Charest

Harvard University chemistry Ph.D. graduate Mark G. Charest has settled his lawsuit against the school. Charest alleged that he was coerced into accepting low royalty payments for a synthetic route to tetracycline antibiotics that he and others patented and was seeking an increase in royalty payments and damages. The terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.

“In light of my claims and goals in bringing this litigation, I am very pleased to accept terms I view as equitable,” Charest said in a June 23 statement. Charest worked in the lab of Harvard chemistry professor Andrew G. Myers and graduated in 2004. Charest recently founded life sciences investment company Phenomic Capital, said his lawyer, Brian O’Reilly of O’Reilly IP.

“The litigation was resolved on mutually agreeable terms,” said David Cameron, Harvard’s director of media relations.

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Charest sued Harvard over royalty payments for a patented synthesis of tetracycline antibiotics.
Credit: C&EN
Reaction scheme for tetracycline antibiotic synthesis.
 
Charest sued Harvard over royalty payments for a patented synthesis of tetracycline antibiotics.
Credit: C&EN

The patent in question was licensed to Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, which Myers founded in 2006 and is now publicly traded. The company has been struggling to get U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval for eravacycline, an antibiotic that the company aims to market for treating drug-resistant bacterial infections. After positive Phase III clinical trial results for intra-abdominal infections were announced in 2014, the company announced last year that a Phase III study for urinary tract infections failed. In May, the company said that FDA is requiring an additional positive phase III trial to support a New Drug Application.

Intellectual property experts have previously told C&EN that it is rare for students to take on a university as Charest did. But “I think that there is a sea change coming with respect to students’ willingness to stand up to the power imbalances they face at large universities,” O’Reilly said.

 
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Comments
Lawrence MacPherson (Wed Jun 29 15:49:49 EDT 2016)
I am very pleased to read that a grad student has won his patent case against Harvard Chemistry. As the former Director of Med Chem at Harvard's Broad Institute, responsible for writing all the chemistry patents, I can say that the Harvard system for assigning inventorship was always quite bizarre, and very different from the system used at big companies like Novartis and AstraZeneca where I worked for more than 20 years.

Shankaran K (Wed Jul 06 08:37:16 EDT 2016)
By taking on the bull by the horn and standing up for his rights, I wonder if Dr. Mark Charest has become just "too toxic and untouchable" for any future employment in leading pharma? Just curious if he is still employed?

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