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Merck's Recombivax HB patent

Executive Summary

Granted Sept. 6 to the inventors of the vaccine at the University of California, San Francisco and at the University of Washington. Patent covers the hepatitis B surface antigen produced from genetically engineered yeast and the Recombivax HB vaccine. In December 1987, Biogen received a patent covering the manufacture of "all hepatitis B surface and core antigens produced by genetic engineering." Biogen's technology is licensed to SmithKline ("The Pink Sheet" April 11, T&G-4). Merck maintains that any recombinant vaccine for hepatitis B produced through genetically engineered yeast falls under the claims of its patent.

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