Too soon to call; Making EPO

Wall Street may have jumped to conclusions last week when investors rewarded Amgen Inc. and punished Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. after a Markman hearing in AMGN's erythropoietin patent infringement suit against TKTX and partner Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

TKTX finished the week down 29 percent at $55.625, losing $506 million in market cap, after a federal judge adopted modified versions of AMGN's definitions of four disputed patent claim terms. AMGN, which is defending the franchise of its blockbuster Epogen product, gained 12 percent to $61.375.

But despite the Street's assumption that the judge's actions strongly favored AMGN, the definitions do not shed much light on how the case will be decided once the trial begins. Indeed, Judge William Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts apparently has strengthened TKTX's ability to argue that AMGN's patents aren't enabled.

Investors jumped on the court's agreement with AMGN to define "vertebrate cells" as cells from an animal having a backbone, and "mammalian cells" as cells from a warm-blooded animal whose young are fed by milk from mammary glands. TKTX had argued that AMGN's patents specifically exclude human

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