Medeva faces suit

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The Independent Online
Shares in Medeva, the pharmaceuticals group, dipped 9p to 206p yesterday despite a strenuous denial of allegations by rivals BOC that the company had pirated trade secrets for a new drug.

The charge came in law suits filed by BOC with courts in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, claiming that employees of a Medeva subsidiary, Inhalon Pharmaceuticals, had breached the terms of their previous contract with BOC.

The British gases to pharmaceuticals group claimed the employees had carried with them secrets used to manufacture generic isoflurane and enflurane, in direct competition to BOC.

But Dennis Millard, Medeva's finance director, said yesterday: "We consider their allegations are without foundation." The company would defend its position vigorously.

Medeva said the employees had left BOC over four years before, while the patent on enflurane had expired in September 1987 and that of isoflurane in January 1993.

As the BOC complaint had not yet been served, "Medeva is considering all of its options, including possible counter-claims against BOC", the company said in a statement.

Inhalon, which was acquired by Medeva in a $54m deal last December, is in the process of establishing a plant to manufacture the two anaesthetics.

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