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MIGDAL HA'EMEQ, Israel, March 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Enzymotec Ltd. (Nasdaq:ENZY) ( "Enzymotec" or the "Company"), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative bio-active lipid ingredients, reported today that on March 23, 2015 the US Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") issued a decision in an Inter Partes Review ("IPR") of Neptune Technologies & Bioressources' ("Neptune") U.S. Patent No. 8,278,351 ('351 patent). The USPTO determined that 26 out of 28 challenged claims in the '351 patent are unpatentable. Enzymotec intends to appeal the USPTO decision regarding the two remaining challenged claims.
According to the final settlement and license agreement that was signed between Enzymotec and Neptune in April 2014, Enzymotec has a worldwide non-exclusive license to the entire 8,030,348 patent family of Neptune, which includes the '351 patent, for as long as any patent in that family exists, for all of the Company's relevant current products and future anticipated products under development.
Neptune is not entitled to any royalty payments in North America under the agreement, unless the final outcome, following an appeal, of the IPR of Neptune's '351 patent is unfavorable to Enzymotec.
Dr. Ariel Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enzymotec, commented, "We are pleased that almost all of the challenged claims in the IPR were determined unpatentable by the USPTO and we intend to challenge the patentability of the two remaining claims. Our recently granted patents and our license for Neptune's patents have strengthened our portfolio of intellectual property and will limit other players from entering the competitive krill oil market. Our products remain market leaders, bolstered by our specialized technologies and innovation, providing our customers with exceptional ingredients of the highest quality in the market."
The '351 patent is also the subject of an ex parte reexamination, which has been stayed pending a decision in the '351 IPR. Prior to the ex parte reexamination being stayed, the USPTO rejected all claims of the '351 patent in a non-final office action. Neptune will have an opportunity to respond to that decision once the stay is lifted.
With respect to Neptune's patent in Australia, on January 28, 2015 the Australian Patent Office issued a reexamination report in response to Enzymotec's request, finding that all the agreed claims in the patent lack novelty. Neptune has until March 28, 2015 to overcome the examiner's report, either by arguments or amendments. All the agreed claims in Australia correspond to claims that were determined unpatentable by the USPTO in the '351 IPR. If the final outcome remains favorable to Enzymotec, no royalty payments will be paid by Enzymotec to Neptune in Australia.
About Enzymotec Ltd.
Enzymotec is a leading global supplier of specialty lipid-based products and solutions. The Company develops, manufactures and markets innovative bio-active lipid ingredients, as well as final products, based on sophisticated processes and technologies. For more information, visit www.enzymotec.com
This release may contain forward-looking statements, which express the current beliefs and expectations of Company management. Such statements involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the following risks: A high proportion of the sales of the InFat product is sold to end users in China and to a single company; The demand for products based on Omega-3 and in particular, premium products, such as krill oil, has declined and may continue to decline following a significant increase in manufacturing capacity by manufacturers of these products, resulting in intense competition and price pressure; Our offering of products as "medical foods" in the United States may be challenged by regulatory authorities; We rely on our Swedish joint venture partner to manufacture InFat and certain matters related to the joint venture are the subject of disagreement in arbitration proceeding; We are subject to a degree of customer concentration and our customers do not enter into long-term purchase commitments with us; We depend on third parties to obtain raw materials, in particular krill, necessary for the production of our products; We are dependent on a single facility that houses the majority of our operations; We may have to pay royalties with respect to sales of our krill oil products in the United States or Australia and any infringement of intellectual property of others could also require us to pay royalties; Potential future acquisitions of companies or technologies may distract our management, may disrupt our business and may not yield the returns expected; We anticipate that the markets in which we participate will become more competitive and we may be unable to compete effectively; We may not be able to successfully expand our production or processing capabilities; Our ability to obtain krill may be affected by conservation regulation or initiatives; Our product development cycle is lengthy and uncertain, and our development or commercialization efforts for our products may be unsuccessful; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 2, 2015. Forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACT: KCSA Strategic Communications Jeffrey Goldberger / Tram Bui 212.896.1249 / 212.896.1290 ENZY@kcsa.com