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BioChain Threatens Legal Action Against Epigenomics for Contract Termination

This article has been updated from a previous version to include a statement provided by Epigenomics.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BioChain said today that it is considering legal action against Epigenomics for allegedly violating the terms of a licensing contract related to Chinese distribution rights to Epigenomics' Septin9 biomarker and Epi proColon colorectal cancer blood test.

Last week, Epigenomics said that it terminated the agreement between the companies — originally signed in March 2016 — because BioChain had not paid Epigenomics more than the agreed minimum royalties over a three-year period.

BioChain, which is based in Newark, California but has affiliates in China, said today in a statement that the termination of the contract is "not legally effective," and that terms of the contract call for disputes between the parties to go through a mediation and arbitration process.

BioChain said that it filed a request for mediation and arbitration on March 1, prior to Epigenomics' termination of the contract. The company further claimed it and its Chinese affiliates have "diligently worked to expand its market position" despite challenging market conditions, including the fact that a related Epigenomics patent was invalidated in China in 2018.

"Epigenomics' termination of the Septin9 contract has incurred damages to BioChain's reputation and investment and BioChain will take further legal actions to protect its interests," BioChain CEO Grace Tian said in a statement.

In an emailed statement, Epigenomics noted that it "has executed its contractual rights per the agreement and we believe BioChain's claims are baseless. The decision to terminate was made public in accordance with applicable laws."