Thursday, July 29, 1999

University of Hawaii

sues UH

Anthony Perry claims
he's entitled to the intellectual
property from his research

By Helen Altonn


A member of the famed "Team Yana" has stunned the University of Hawaii again -- not with another discovery, but a lawsuit.

Anthony Perry, who was involved in a historic cloning of mice and other pioneering developments the past two years, claims he is entitled to the intellectual property from his research.

"Our position, of course, is that the university owns it," said Alan Teramura, UH senior vice president for research.

He said Perry's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in circuit court, "came as quite a shock to us because we thought we were negotiating with his attorney, Jeffrey Harris."

A disagreement apparently was brewing for months between Perry and the UH over the rights to knowledge from two of his research projects.

Perry and Teruhiko Wakayama are members of "Team Yana," led by Ryuzo Yanagimachi, professor of anatomy and reproductive biology.

Wakayama was lead investigator for the successful cloning of female and male mice. Perry developed a technique, "Honolulu transgenesis," to transfer genetic information from one organism into the egg of another. He used a "green gene" from a jellyfish to create green mice.

Laith Reynolds, who founded ProBio America Ltd. to market and commercialize the "Honolulu Technique" of mice-cloning, said the company has eight patents on the group's research.

He said Perry worked with the company's attorneys and prepared patent applications until March.

"The university has already committed this intellectual property to us, and we are developing a worldwide business," Reynolds said. "We have companies ready to come here to create jobs. All of this now gets frozen until this is resolved."

Harris said Perry, now out of state, and the UH have tried for months to resolve differences over who has the right to license intellectual property, "and it's become clear that we need the help of a third party."

The lawsuit asks the court to help resolve the disagreement, he said.

Perry and Wakayama, meanwhile, have joined John Henry Felix in forming a new biotechnology company, BiogeneSys International LLC.

Felix, a city councilman and chairman emeritus of the Salk Institute, today said, "We have the intellectual property developed by Drs. Perry and Wakayama, and the company is owner of that intellectual property."

He said Perry and Wakayama are shareholders in the company, which is "optimistic about contributing to a quantum advance in transplant surgery that will, in time, make waiting lists for suitable organ donors a thing of the past."

Yanagimachi, reportedly extremely troubled by the controversy, only a few weeks ago talked in the governor's office about his associates' loyalty, explaining they had remained with him despite big money offers from other institutions.

Perry began working with Yanagimachi on a European fellowship, and Wakayama was a postdoctoral fellow. Both were offered assistant professorships and Wakayama accepted. Perry didn't. However, he has been on the UH payroll since October as an emergency hire, Teramura said.

Ka Leo O Hawaii

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