University of Minnesota sues Gilead for infringing on hepatitis C patents

Again, Gilead Sciences defense challenge a patent for its hepatitis C treatments is innovative. The latest evidence comes from the University of Minnesota, who presented demand arguing that the drug has infringed a patent related to the blockbuster Sovaldi medicine, as well as two follow-up drugs, Harvoni and Epclusa.

In its application, which was filed in federal court Tuesday, the university maintains that the three drugs are covered by patent rights that were assigned to the school by Dr. Carston Wagner, professor and chair provided in the department of medical chemistry at the university college of pharmacy. The school said it received the patent in August 2014.

The patent refers to “antiviral compounds and methods for using the compounds to treat viral infections such as that caused by the hepatitis C virus” says demand. “The importance of the contributions of Dr. Wagner … as described and claimed in the patent, was widely recognized by his peers in the scientific community. Gilead drugs incorporate these contributions.” ( These are the exhibits ).

A spokesman for Gilead wrote to us that the company “firmly believes it has the exclusive right to market (Sovaldi) in the US .. We believe that the University of Minnesota patent is invalid and not infringed for selling drugs Gilead for chronic hepatitis C. “

such disputes are not uncommon, but the Gilead drug hepatitis C have generated a bonanza – more than $ 19 billion in sales last year, but was not available Epclusa until recently . This explains why patent challenges to its hepatitis C products are monitored closely. Sales have recently decreased , but investors, in particular, still wants to know if this source of lucrative income could be further diminished.

There was, for example, intense interest in recent patent litigation between Gilead and Merck. In that case, Merck sought royalties from Gilead, claiming the compounds of Gilead bought another company closely mimicked Merck hepatitis C compounds investigated a dozen years earlier. Gilead filed a lawsuit in response, arguing Merck’s patents were invalid. A jury agreed, but the verdict was overturned two months ago after a federal court judge ruled a lawyer for Merck had lied .

However, consumer groups have also pointed to patents for Gilead as an example of a broken patent system. These groups lost a round in May, however, when Indian officials backtracked and granted a patent to Gilead Sciences for Sovaldi. A year earlier, the Patent Office rejected the Indian patent application the company on the basis that it was not a significant improvement compared with a compound previously developed by another company.

If the dispute with the University of Minnesota has the same potential for such drama is unclear. The school is claiming patent infringement only relates to the art to have the drug absorbed into the body, not the compound.

“I think they’re just trying to get a reward,” said Tahir Amin, director of intellectual property at IMAK, an advocacy group that fought Gilead in India and is challenging the Sovaldi patents in other countries. “I think this just goes to show what we have been saying all along -.. This kind of science is commonly used are only stake a claim for their own purposes Unfortunately, the patent system creates monopolies when, in these cases, no one should have exclusivity in ancient science. ”

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