Posts Tagged: "Pharma & Chemical"

Biotech and Pharma Update: News for December 2013

What follows below is a review of some of the biotech and pharma news stories that caught my attention during the month of December 2013. Fitch Puts Negative Outlook on Bristol-Myers. AstraZeneca Loses at the Federal Circuit on Omeprazole. Merck and GlaxoSmithKline Collaborate on Regimen for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma. Teva and Pfizer Settle Viagra® Patent Dispute. FTC Settles with Mylan over Agila Acquisition. FDA Fast Tracks Savara Pharmaceuticals Antibiotic AeroVanc to treat MRSA. Fitch Gives Johnson & Johnson AAA Rating. Sales of Antiretroviral Drugs for HIV Predicted to Decrease.

Protecting Data Exclusivity, Protecting the Future of Medicine

Traditionally, “small molecule” drugs are patent protected for a twenty-year term. Biologic medicines, however, are more difficult to comprehensively protect with patents due to their size, complexity, and numerous similar effective variants. This comprehensive protection is critical given the investment and risk associated with biologics. Estimates are that the pre-approval cost of developing a biologic approaches $1.2 billion and that the time needed to recover the pre-approval R&D costs be between 12.9 and 16.2 years. In the United States, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“Biologics Act”) provides for 12 years of exclusivity for the drugs. Through this, Congress endeavored to fill the void left by patents and trade secrets in the protection of biologics.

Pharma & Biotech News for September 2013

Mark Lemley’s Firm Files DJ Against Myriad in Northern California —– Promise Not to Infringe Insufficient in ANDA Litigation —– Licensing Deals Stall in Pharmaceutical Sector in First Half of 2013 —– Mylan Settles with FTC over Agila Acquisition from Strides —– Amgen and ShanghaiTech University Announce China R&D Center —– Forest Laboratories sues over SAVELLA® generics —– Teva Pharmaceutical scores patent cictory over Mylan on AZILECT® —– Patent Awarded to New Hepatitis C Treatment —– Orphan drug designation for treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome —– Avanir settles ANDA litigation with Actavis over NUEDEXTA

Compulsory Licenses and “Statements of Working” in India

As many following India IP issues are well-aware, in 2012 India issued the 1st compulsory license (CL) to Natco for Bayer’s anti-cancer drug Nexavar. The granting of this CL was further upheld by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in Spring 2013, leading to great concern and condemnation in the international IP community, especially by those in the Pharma field. Also in Spring 2013, BDR Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. filed the 2nd Indian application for a CL (still pending) for Dasatinib, Bristol Meyers Squibb’s blockbuster anti-cancer drug. Thus it appears to be the beginning of a trend for Indian pharma companies to request CLs, and I believe that this trend will continue and likely increase.

Patent Law 2.0: Not the Answer the Developing World Needs

In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Amy Kapczynski argues that the Supreme Court of India’s strict interpretation of the country’s new patent law provides a model to be followed by other countries. Kapczynski applauds this “Patent Law 2.0” and argues that it will enhance access to medicines and may improve pharmaceutical innovation. Unfortunately she is wrong on both counts. Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act forbids the patenting of new forms of known drugs unless the new form significantly enhances efficacy and yields therapeutic benefits. Accordingly, much of the incremental innovation that is done on existing treatments will no longer be patentable under the so-called Patent Law 2.0. These are not issues considered by Kapczynski. Astonishingly, she interprets the impact of this law as follows, “Provisions like Section 3(d) can help reverse this effect [prioritizing incremental innovation over breakthrough drug discovery] and encourage companies to undertake the riskier and more expensive research that is required to generate breakthrough drugs.” Her analysis is strikingly naïve. It is laughable to think that weaker intellectual property rights (IPR) protection will incentivize innovative pharmaceutical firms to expend more resources and take on greater risk.

In re Effexor XR Antitrust Litigation: FTC Amicus Argues for No-Authorized-Generic in Patent Settlements

The Federal Trade Commission has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to accept an amicus brief that addresses the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in FTC v. Actavis to a patent settlement containing a “no-authorized-generic” commitment. The FTC’s amicus brief states that the Effexor XR case presents “an issue with significant implications for American consumers”: whether pharmaceutical patent settlements are “immune from antitrust scrutiny so long as the brand-name drug manufacturer pays for delayed entry with something other than cash.” The brief explains why “[t]he allegations here raise the same type of antitrust concern that the Supreme Court identified in Actavis,” and thus should be treated in the same fashion.

Pharma Update July 2013: FDA, Preemption & SCOTUS

The FDA is following through on plans to issue a proposed rule to revise regulations to allow generic drugmakers to update labeling. The rule would update current regulations that prevent generic drugmakers from doing so, even if they become aware of a potential risk not mentioned in labeling. By contrast, brand-name drugamkers can update warnings and precautions on labeling before obtaining FDA approval. Additionally, Merck won an important court ruling for the entire pharmaceutical industry. A federal court decided that, under certain circumstances, drugmakers may defend themselves against product liability lawsuits by citing preemption.

Pharma Scandals: Bribery, Insider Trading and Paula Deen

The summer may be in full swing, but the torrent pace of news and interesting developments has not subsided at all. Hot days simply yield hot stories. Unarguably, the most sensational item over the past few weeks has been the GlaxoSmithKline bribery scandal unfolding in China. As of mid-July, four Glaxo executives, all of whom are Chinese nationals, were detained and authorities hinted that other drugmakers may be examined as they review records held by travel agencies implicated in the drama.

Why SCOTUS Myriad Ruling Overrules Chakrabarty

The Supreme Court quite directly contradicts the reasoning of Chakrabarty in Myriad. Thomas explains that it is a fact that isolated DNA is nonnaturally occurring, but still nevertheless not patent eligible. Whether we like it or not, the very foundation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Chakrabarty has been overruled, or at the very least significantly cut back. Arguments to the contrary are simply wishful thinking and ignore the explicit language of the Myriad decision.

FDA Approves New Labeling for Merck Blockbuster HIV Drug ISENTRESS

This newly approved, updated prescribing information for ISENTERSS now includes 240-week results from the STARTMRK study, the double-blind Phase III study that evaluated integrase inhibitor in previously untreated adult patients with HIV-1 infection. The results show that the regimen containing ISENTRESS in combination therapy demonstrated long-term viral suppression and a greater immunologic response than conventional treatment regimens, as well as a proven, long-term safety and tolerability profile through 240 weeks in previously untreated adult HIV-1 infected patients. ISENTRESS had sales of $243,636,000 during Q1 of 2013, and has experienced growth quarter over quarter, which means that ISENTRESS is flirting with the $1 billion per year in sales that would make it a blockbuster drug.

Pharma Law and Business Roundup: June 2013

After years of debate and controversy, the US Supreme Court ruled that drugmakers can face lawsuits over so-called pay-to-delay patent settlements, but that such deals should not necessarily be assumed to be illegal. The decision largely vindicates the position held by the Federal Trade Commission, which argued the deals are anti-competitive because generic drugmakers are given incentive to file lawsuits against brand-name rivals and then settle for a quick profit, rather than challenge a patent in court. The FTC calculated the reverse settlments, as some call them, cost consumers $3.5 billion annually.

Global IP Reaction to India’s Rejection of the Novartis Drug Patent

India’s booming $26 billion generic drug industry and public health sector rejoiced over the Indian Supreme Court’s recent decision to reject a patent filed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis for their landmark leukemia drug, Gleevec. Novartis received a patent for an earlier variation of Gleevec in 40 countries including Russia, China, and Taiwan. However, India’s troubled IP regime applies an ambiguous standard to patentability, the so-called “enhanced efficacy” for new forms of known substances. India only applies their “efficacy” requirement to the chemical and pharmaceutical drug industry as a protectionist measure. India codified the efficacy requirement in section 3(d) of their patent code and this may contravene with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) as set forth by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Are Pharmaceutical Patents A Barrier to Access to Medicines? The Importance Economic Development and Growth

Critics argue that pharmaceutical patents are a barrier to wide-reaching access to medicines, especially for vulnerable populations in the developing world. They cast their argument in the phrase, “Patents Kill” and advocate against intellectual property (IP) protection for medical innovation and the trade agreements that incorporate them… Not surprisingly, barriers to access are more prevalent in less developed nations and access to medicine is a function of the level of economic development. Not surprisingly, higher-income nations benefit from greater access to medicines.

Bio-Pharma at the U.S. Supreme Court

Since my last article here on, the pharmaceutical industry has been simply overflowing with interesting developments, including the US Supreme Court hearing arguments concerning three significant cases. The first case argued at the Supreme Court will determine whether generic drugmakers can be sued for alleged flaws in the design of their medications. Another argument before the Supreme Court was about pay-to-delay deals in which a brand-name drugmaker agrees to pay a settlement to a generic rival in exchange for ending patent litigation and launching a copycat medicine at a future date. The Court also heard arguments about a case that raises crucial questions about whether human genes can be patented. And the outcome may well reset the boundaries and direction of medical research in the US, which of course has tremendous implications for investments made by the biopharmaceutical industry and the battle against many diseases, notably cancer.

Pharma Law and Business Roundup for March 2013

In response to the scandal over a fungal meningitis outbreak, the FDA has begun a crackdown on compounding pharmacies and targeting about 30 ‘high risk’ operations in nearly a dozen states. San Francisco officials approved a referendum that will allow residents to decide whether to require city officials to hold talks with drug makers about pricing for ‘essential medicines.’ A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of a former biotech chief executive, who argued that federal prosecutors violated his First Amendment and commercial speech rights. The Federal Trade Commission filed a brief siding with generic drug makers in dispute with brand-name drug makers. At issue is whether a brand-name drug maker should be required to sell samples of its medicine to an aspiring generic rival when its medicine was approved with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.