Wound case to end with a $280M deal

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Kinetic Concepts Inc. will make $280 million in payments over three years to Wake Forest University Health Services in a legal settlement. The agreement ends a fight over patents and licensing for negative pressure wound therapy. 

Two Wake Forest faculty members, Louis Argenta, M.D., and bioengineer Michael Morykwas, Ph.D., filed patent applications on NPWT in 1991. Wake Forest then licensed the technology to KCI, which turned it into the Vacuum-Assisted Closure (V.A.C.) system. By 2010, a federal judge said Wake Forest's patent was invalid, and the entities sued each other. In 2012, an appeals judge reinstated Wake Forest's patent rights. A trial was scheduled to take place this summer. 

NPWT has detractors. However, it has been used by many hospitals and long-term care facilities to care for wounds previously thought “untreatable,” stated John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  

The statement also noted that Wake Forest's core patents related to NPWT have expired and that “there is no need” for KCI or Wake Forest to have a license agreement moving forward.