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Biopharmaceutical company Tercica Inc. reported Thursday that it is suing rival Insmed Inc. for patent infringement because of efforts to commercialize its growth hormone SomatoKine in the United States.

Insmed confirmed Tuesday that it received a cease and desist letter from Tercica concerning the commercialization efforts. Tercica said the cease and desist letter applies to U.S. growth factor patents it licenses from biotech company Genentech Inc.

The suit, filed in a Northern California district court, alleges that Insmed's SomatoKine infringes two U.S. patents licensed to Tercica.

SomatoKine is made up of insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3, or IGFBP-3, Tercica said.

The suit follows a similar one that Tercica filed Monday in Britain against Insmed and its contract manufacturer Avecia Ltd.

Insmed expects to file a new drug application soon with the Food and Drug Administration for SomatoKine to treat growth hormone insensitivity syndrome.

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