September 19, 2001

Company Drops Feud Over AIDS Vaccine

By PAUL ELIAS,  AP Biotechnology Writer from the Los Angeles Times


SAN FRANCISCO -- A biotechnology company founded by Jonas Salk ended its multimillion-dollar feud Tuesday with the University of California, San Francisco, over the school's conclusion that an AIDS vaccine it developed doesn't work.

Immune Response Corp. funded the school's research on the drug and then tried to block publication of a study questioning its effectiveness.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November, claimed the vaccine Remmune failed to reduce the amount of HIV in the bloodstream or slow the progression of the disease. Remmune is made from a disabled form of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Immune Response agreed to drop its demands that UCSF pay the company at least $7 million it alleged it lost because of the damaging report. The Carlsbad-based company also agreed to turn over data it originally withheld from the UCSF research team.

"We are happy to see the resolution of this dispute on terms that do not compromise the rights of university researchers to publish sponsored research findings," said Zach Hall, UCSF executive vice chancellor.

There was no comment from the company on the reason for its decision.

The feud highlighted the increasing influence companies wield over research they help fund. On Sunday, the editors of the world's most prestigious medical journals unveiled a new policy aimed at limiting that influence.