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Actelion to appeal against $547-million fine

Swiss biotech firm Actelion says it will appeal against the final jury verdict in a licensing agreement dispute with Japanese group Asahi Kasei.

A jury in the Superior Court of the State of California awarded Asahi $547 million (SFr472 million) in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages against individual officers of Actelion.

In a statement released one day ahead of its annual general meeting, the group, Europe’s largest of its kind and based near Basel, said that it was disappointed with the jury decision.

“Actelion has filed a motion for a required election of remedies and an off-set. This motion could result in a substantial reduction in compensatory damages,” the company said.

Actelion, which is under fire from largest shareholder Elliott Advisors, is facing a tough battle at its AGM. There has been pressure from shareholder activists to remove chief executive and founder Jean-Paul Clozel from his post and to submit to a takeover from a larger company

Observers say news of the Asahi case could lend further support to Elliott's criticisms of the group. and agencies


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