June 26, 2012

IP activity in the pharma & biotech space during 2012

Much of the Life Science blogosphere has focused on the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo v. Prometheus lately. The decision has jolted the biotech industry through a unanimous ruling that threw out two medical-testing patents and has questioned the very concept of what a law of nature is when it comes to medical testing. The case involved a group of drugs used to treat diseases such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. For patients taking thiopurine drugs for such immune system diseases, physicians must adjust the dose to make sure the drug works while side effects are avoided. The Prometheus patent described connecting the level of certain chemicals in the blood to the thiopurine dosage to balance between too high or too low dosage. This led justice Breyer to conclude that the Prometheus patents recited laws of nature, which has sparked a big discussion. Personalized medicine and companion diagnostics are examples of areas that are heavily affected by this and given the fact that thousands of patents for diagnostic tests have been issued in the past two decades - the court ruling could have dramatic effects on the biotech industry. One of the most cited examples is of course Myriad Genetics’ test for breast-cancer risk using information about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. To follow the debate I recommend visiting Patent Baristas, Patently BIOtech or Holman’s Biotech IP Blog.

On the pharma/biotech side of the industry there is also activity in the IP-realm. Due to the commotion around Prometheus, IP analysis around pharma/bio seems to have been in the background lately. Therefore, this month, Intangitopia is providing you with an overview of IP lawsuits, settlements and infringements in the pharma/biotech space covering Jan-June 2012: 

As can be seen in the diagram above, most of the activity has been in the disease groups: 1) nervous system diseases, 2) nutritional and metabolic diseases, and 3) respiratory tract diseases. Below are summaries of the top IP news in media within these disease groups.

Nervous System Diseases

Indication Companies Products Top news description
Pain Merck & Co Inc Vioxx Merck Resolves Vioxx Litigation in Canada
Opioid Abuse/Pain BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI), Endo Pharmaceuticals BEMA Buprenorphine BioDelivery Sciences Receives Patent Allowance Triggering $15 Million Milestone Payment from Endo Pharmaceuticals
Pain Zalicus Inc. Hydromorphone hydrochloride Settlement confirmed in litigation between Zalicus and Mallinckrodt and Watson Laboratories Inc
Parkinson's Disease Orion Corporation Stalevo Orion sues Mylan to enforce its U.S. patents covering the proprietary drug Stalevo
Post-Herpetic Neuralgia Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc, Endo Health Solutions Inc, Impax Laboratories, Inc. Lidocaine, Lidoderm Watson Announces Lidoderm Patent Challenge Settlement
Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Genmab A/S -- Genmab Announces Patent Settlement Agreement for Ofatumumab
Sleep Disorders Mylan Inc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd Modafinil, Nuvigil Mylan Settles Provigil Litigation With Teva

Nutritional and metabolic diseases

Indication Companies Products Top news description
Diabetes Mellitus Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc Metformin hydrochloride Lupin announces settlement with Santarus and Depomed for Glumetza Patent Litigation
Hypertriglyceridemia Pronova BioPharma ASA, GlaxoSmithKline plc Omacor US District Court Rules in Pronova BioPharma's Favour on Lovaza Patents
Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus Novo Nordisk Inc, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Depomed Inc, Santarus Inc, Mylan Inc Victoza, Glumetza, Pioglitazone hydrochloride, Metformin hydrochloride Depomed files patent infringement lawsuit against Watson

Respiratory tract diseases

Indication Companies Products Top news description
Allergic Rhinitis Merck & Co Inc Nasonex U.S. District Court Rules Against Merck in Nasonex Patent Lawsuit
Asthma Mylan Inc Levalbuterol hydrochloride Mylan Announces Settlement Agreement in Litigation Relating to its Generic Xopenex
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mylan Inc -- Mylan Announces Settlement Agreement in Patent Infringement Litigation Relating to Sunovion's Brovana Product
Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc Curosurf Court Orders Dismissal of Curosurf Case

Tobias ThornbladTwitter


  1. Likely it's taboo for me to say this on a blog for patent and other IP lawyers, but I'm glad the Supreme Court ruled as it did in Prometheus. It will be interesting to see how the Myriad patent litigation fares in light of the high court's ruling.

    1. The international financial recovery will not be strapping enough to cut idleness hastily literature term paper topics!!!!

  2. i agree with your statment Therefore, this month, Intangitopia is providing you with an overview of IP lawsuits, settlements and infringements in the pharma/biotech space covering Jan-June 2012.
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