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Martek Withdraws Original European ARA Infant Formula Patent in Light of New European ARA Infant Formula Patent
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Columbia, MD -- Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) announced that it has withdrawn its original European ARA (arachidonic acid) patent for infant formula that was upheld with narrowed claims by the European Patent Office (EPO) in April 2005. As a result of the withdrawal, an appeal hearing scheduled for July 2007 is to be canceled and the patent will no longer be in force and effect.
Martek has taken this action because, on April 11, 2007, the EPO granted a divisional patent to Martek for ARA oil made from Martek's microbial source for use in infant formula. This divisional patent covers infant formula supplemented with ARA from Mortierella alpina microorganisms and methods for producing infant formulas with ARA from Mortierella alpina. Martek's ARA oil, branded life'sARA™ or ARASCO®, is used in infant formulas worldwide.
Martek believes that the claims granted in Martek's divisional patent as applied to infant formula applications are even stronger than those in the now withdrawn ARA patent. Further, consistent with its strategy of continuously attempting to strengthen its intellectual property position, Martek also has another divisional ARA patent application pending before the EPO which, if granted, would provide additional patent protection relating to the use of ARA in infant formula and other products. In light of these factors, Martek decided not to proceed with the July appeal hearing.
Naturally present in human breast milk, ARA is an essential fatty acid important to infant development and growth. When used in combination with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), clinical studies have demonstrated numerous benefits for infants receiving ARA supplemented formula. Martek is the world leader in providing ARA for use in infant formulas. Martek's ARA is present in more than 90 percent of infant formula sold in the U.S. and is also used in infant formulas sold in more than 65 countries around the world.
Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) is a leader in the innovation and development of DHA omega-3 products that promote health and wellness through every stage of life. The Company produces life'sDHA™, a sustainable and vegetarian source of DHA omega-3, for use in foods, beverages, infant formula, and supplements, and life'sARA™ (arachidonic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid, for use in infant formula. For more information on Martek Biosciences, visit http://www.martek.com/.
Sections of this release contain forward-looking statements concerning, among other things, expectations regarding the strength of Martek's divisional European ARA patent for use in infant formula and Martek's intellectual property strategy. These statements are based upon numerous assumptions which Martek cannot control and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. These statements should be understood in light of the risk factors set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, the Company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2006 and other filed reports on Form 10- K, Form 10-K/A, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.
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