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A jury deadlock in Los Angeles forced a mistrial Wednesday in the City of Hope research hospital’s lawsuit claiming the biotechnology firm Genentech Inc. owes hundreds of millions of dollars in drug royalties. On its sixth day of deliberations, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edward Y. Kakita said the jury was deadlocked and declared a mistrial. The jury reported to the judge Monday that it was evenly split on the first verdict question — a breach-of-contract claim — and had made no progress. On Tuesday the judge ordered the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict. San Francisco attorney Sean Johnston, who represented Genentech, said the panel was divided 7-5 in Genentech’s favor at the end. “We are pleased that the majority of jurors agreed with us that we had fully paid City of Hope the monies we owed them … and we had not breached the agreement.” Despite “outrageous claims” by City of Hope that Genentech hid and concealed information during the trial, jurors saw the truth, Johnston said. City of Hope’s general counsel, Glenn Krinsky, said he was not discouraged by the outcome. Krinsky said City of Hope will seek the earliest possible retrial date during a conference call with the judge Thursday. “We will retry the case. We will present the exact same evidence in the exact same fashion,” he said. “We remain very encouraged that we will prevail.” At issue is a 1976 contract between South San Francisco-based Genentech and City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., which provided that Genentech would fund research at the City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute. In return, Genentech would own whatever patents would be issued and would pay the hospital a 2 percent royalty on the sales of certain drugs resulting from the research. The lawsuit claims Genentech hid 27 licenses with drug companies to avoid paying $340 million in royalties involving drugs used in the production of human insulin and growth hormones. Including interest, the hospital claims it is now owed more than $400 million. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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