The next round in the long running legal dispute between Cambridge Antibody Technology and Abbott Laboratories over royalty payments will be heard in London in the week of October 24, according to the UK biotechnology firm.

CAT has been in dispute with Abbott over royalty rates for the latter’s big-selling rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Humira (adalimumab), since October 2003 [[15/10/03a]]. Last October, the judge presiding in the case, Mr Justice Laddie, ruled that CAT was entitled to a hike in royalty rates to 5% rather than 2%. Abbott, which maintains that CAT’s royalty payments should be shared with third parties, was granted leave to appeal the ruling in March [[22/03/05d]], and it is this appeal that will be heard in October.

The two firms originally hooked up back in 1993, when CAT licensed a technology to Abbott that helped the latter develop the genetically engineered human antibody, originally called D2E7, as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Humira was first introduced 10 years later, and has been growing quickly, posting turnover up 89% during the first quarter of this year to $282 million. Abbott is forecasting full-year sales of $1.3 billion for this product [[13/04/05d]].