SOURCE: Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

July 31, 2006 15:19 ET

Beckman's Right to Transfer Its HPV Business to Ventana Is Upheld

TUCSON, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 31, 2006 -- Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: VMSI) today commented on the July 27, 2006 ruling in an arbitration between Beckman Coulter, Inc. and Digene Corporation. In that decision, an International Center for Dispute Resolution arbitration panel ruled that Beckman had the right to assign its HPV business and intellectual property to Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. In reaching this conclusion, the panel rejected Digene's central argument in the arbitration that a 1990 Cross-License Agreement to which Beckman was a party prohibited assignment of Beckman's HPV business and intellectual property. The panel also refused to consider Digene's request to invalidate Beckman's assignment to Ventana. However, the panel declared that the assignment included a provision that was not permitted by the Cross-License Agreement. Ventana is working to correct that provision. Additionally, the panel declared that the Cross-License Agreement does not permit the sale of HPV cell paste. Ventana does not sell HPV cell paste to third parties.

This ruling has no effect on Ventana's ability to continue to provide HPV products directly to the global market.

Digene sued Ventana in 2001 in Delaware District Court, later adding Beckman as a party, and sought, among other remedies, an injunction against the sale of the Ventana INFORM HPV products, unspecified monetary damages, and cancellation of the acquisition of the Beckman HPV business. In 2004, the Court required Digene to arbitrate the claims it asserted against Beckman. The District Court proceedings against Ventana, which had been stayed pending the outcome of the arbitration, are expected to resume in the near future.

Ventana develops, manufactures, and markets instrument/reagent systems that automate tissue preparation and slide staining in clinical histology and drug discovery laboratories worldwide. The Company's clinical systems are important tools used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Ventana's drug discovery systems are used to accelerate the discovery of new drug targets and evaluate the safety of new drug compounds.

Visit the Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. website at www.ventanamed.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Christopher M. Gleeson
    President and CEO
    (520) 229-3787

    Nick Malden
    Chief Financial Officer
    (520) 229-3857

    VENTANA MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC.
    1910 E. Innovation Park Drive
    Tucson, Arizona 85755
    (520) 887-2155