U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball turned back a Pfizer motion that claimed it had no confidentiality agreement when BYU professor Daniel L. Simmons shared his research with Monsanto, the predecessor of Pfizer, which later marketed Celebrex.
Simmons, who came to BYU from Harvard in 1989, identified an enzyme that causes inflammation.
Other scientists made similar discoveries, but the BYU
team was the first to publish its findings.
To turn the discovery into a commercial pain-relief product, BYU and Monsanto
worked out an agreement under which Simmons
would direct the research and Monsanto
would handle the patents.
was to share in the profits of any products that resulted.
Instead, the lawsuit alleges, Pfizer used Simmons' research to test a compound patented by another scientist, canceled its contract with BYU and denied the school and its professor any credit or monetary rewards related to Celebrex.
At issue in Kimball's ruling last week was whether a research agreement between BYU and Monsanto
was in force when Simmons
sent biological materials and information to
Pfizer representatives continued to insist that the allegations by BYU and Simmons
is confident that the facts clearly show that Monsanto
fully met all the obligations of its research agreement with BYU
and Dr. Simmons
had nothing to do with its blockbuster drug and has a motion before Kimball asking him to rule on that issue.