The to-the-death patent saga of Sibia Neuroscience Inc. and Cadus Pharmaceuticals Corp. should have been a wakeup call to the industry, pointing to the practical virtues of cross-licensing to ensure the freedom to operate.

Indeed, neither company came out a winner - the battle-fatigued Sibia was acquired by Merck & Co. Inc. in November and Cadus is an empty shell. But OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. took the lesson to heart and seized the opportunity provided when Cadus lost the patent battle.