Roche vs Promega Latest

Sun Jun 4 10:11:30 EST 1995

> To:            diagnost at
> From:          odonnell at (Kevin O'Donnell)
> Subject:       Roche vs Promega Latest
> Date:          Thu, 1 Jun 1995 13:15:57 GMT

> Scientists are getting caught in the cross-fire in the legal battle between 
> Roche and promega over the taq polymerase (used in PCR)patent. 
> Briefly, Promega are trying to get the patent overturned in the US 
> because it is 'prior art'  i.e. they maintain that taq had been described 
> previous to the patent being granted to Cetus (who sold it to Roche).
> The latest thing is that Roche have compiled a list of over 200 US 
> scientists in universities and laboratories who they say have acted illegally. 
> The list seems to consist of people who have published papers in which 
> the source of their taq was Promega.   The full list is available on 
> Promega's WWW page ( as are more details 
> about the litigation.
> The European taq patent has been withdrawn, pending further 
> investigation, partly as a result of the Promega action.
> I should say here that this info is distilled from the Promega press release 
> which may not be the most objective source. 
> I would also like to declare an interest: I am sick and tired of being ripped 
> off by taq prices several times the real cost.
> Kevin O'Donnell
> Scottish Agricultural Science Agency    
> Edinburgh
> Scotland                                           

Darn, I hate being no one.  I'm not on the list.  I couldn't agree 
more about being extorted.  Even Promega's price for Taq is extremely 
high when you consider how long it takes to purify that enzyme.  From 
the published reports it looks like you can make about $2,000,000 
(US) worth of Taq Pol (using Promega's discount price) or about 
$5,000,000 if you use PE prices, in about 2 days and the equipment is 
nothing.  The list of names looks like they only went through a few 
selected journals, nothing I publish in.  I just wonder how long the 
slide towards patent-and-sue, will continue in science.  If Hoffman 
can make stand a Universal monopoly on use of any thermal stable 
polymerase and every possible use of PCR then we will all be paying 
massive tariffs and that will drive most of us out of the business.  
Money is too tight right now in funding sources without having the 
Taqs (Tax) Man raising the rates.

||Doug Rhoads              || Dept. of Biological Sciences||
||drhoads at || 601 Science Engineering     ||
||drhoads at || University of Arkansas      ||
||501-575-3251             || Fayetteville, AR 72701      ||
||     My Dogma Just Got Run Over by Someone's Karma      ||

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