Nobel laureate Honjo, drugmaker settle license row

Japanese Nobel Prize laureate Honjo Tasuku has reached a settlement with a pharmaceutical company in a dispute over a license fee for a cancer-drug based on his research.

Ono Pharmaceutical Company agreed on Friday to pay Honjo 5 billion yen, or 43.8 million dollars. It also agreed to donate 23 billion yen, or 201.6 million dollars, to a research foundation to be set up jointly with Honjo at Kyoto University.

Honjo, a distinguished professor at Kyoto University, won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2018 for research that led to the development of cancer-drug Opdivo by Ono Pharmaceutical.

Honjo had said that his licensing fee had been kept unfairly low and filed a lawsuit with the Osaka District Court asking the pharmaceutical company to pay him 230 million dollars.

The two sides were completely at odds, but the court had been advising them to reach a settlement.

Honjo issued a statement after the settlement saying that through the court's coordination, the two sides were able to find a solution which he could accept.

Honjo said he wants to support fundamental research in the long-term with contributions from cooperating businesses.

He said that it is essential for the country's development to have companies and universities work together to create an environment where young scientists can devote themselves to research.