Surgical sealant developer sues Omrix

Uri Martinovich claims Omrix deprived him of his patent rights.

Prof. Uri Martinovich has filed a NIS 3.43 million lawsuit with the Tel Aviv District Court against Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq:OMRI) and its president and CEO Robert Taub for allegedly deprived him of his patent rights to the biological sealant that the company produces. Martinovich is the director of the National Hemophilia Center at Sheba Medical Center Tel Hashomer.

In November, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) acquired Omrix for $438 million. On Friday, Antitrust Authority director general Ronit Kan approved the acquisition, under the Restrictive Trade Practices Law (5748-1988). Taub founded Omrix in 1994.

Martinovich claims that he developed the compound for the biological sealant, but was deprived of his patent rights. He also claims that he was not paid for his invention or for the thousands of hours he spent developing it over ten years. He claims that Omrix violated agreements under which it promised to pay him $1.4 million for the rights to the invention.

Martinovich claims that Omrix paid him only $750,000, but that it refused to pay the $650,000 balance or to give him agreed-upon stock options. He is demanding payment of the amounts he claims he is owed, and to be sold 20,000 shares at $6 per share.

Omrix and Taub have not yet filed a statement of response.

Omrix closed at $24.90 yesterday, giving a market cap of $426 million.

There have been several cases in Israel in recent years in which inventors sued companies for allegedly depriving them of their rights. Cases include collagen-based matrices developer ColBar LifeSceiences Ltd. (which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson unit Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. in 2006) and miniature implants developer Remon Medical Technologies Ltd.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 18, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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