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The Abramson Cancer Center, located in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

Credit: Riley Guggenhime

Penn filed a lawsuit against Roche's Genentech Inc. on Tuesday, alleging that the biotechnology company infringed on a patent for technology discovered at Penn.

The lawsuit claims that four of Genentech Inc's metastatic breast-cancer treatments mimic treatments that were developed and patented by Penn's cancer center.

In the Delaware federal court complaint, Penn claims that Genetech was aware of the patent, and accuses the company of willfully infringing on it. It specifically cites four treatments — Herceptin, Herceptin Hylecta, Perjeta, and Phesgo.

Researchers at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center developed the patented technology after discovering that using a compound to slow the growth of tumor cells enhances later radiation treatments, Reuters reported.

Genentech is a biotechnology company that develops medications for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. It is credited with discovering the first targeted antibody treatment for cancer, as well as the first medicine for primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

The company became a member of the Roche Group, a Swiss healthcare company that works on pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, in March 2009. The company sold over $5 billion worth of the treatment worldwide during the first nine months of 2021, according to Reuters.  

The complaint alleges that Genentech was aware of the patent prior to selling the treatment, citing Roche’s opposition to Penn’s similar European patent applications.

Penn is seeking an undisclosed amount of money damages.