Human Genome Sciences Enlists Antitrust Law In DNA War With Genentech
Human Genome Sciences Inc. (“HGS”) is asking a federal court in Delaware to find that rival drug developer Genentech Inc. has violated U.S. antitrust laws by colluding with Celltech R&D Ltd. to fraudulently extend the life of a disputed patent.
The complaint in Human Genome Sciences Inc. v. Genentech Inc. alleges that Genentech and Celltech conspired in 2001 to fraudulently extend the life of the Cabilly patent, which protects a technology that uses recombinant DNA, which is critical to the manufacture of many biotech drugs. HGS seeks damages as well as an injunction preventing the enforcement of the patent.
HGS alleges that under a 2001 agreement settling Celltech’s challenge to Genentech’s patent, Genentech made more than $1 billion in royalties due to the improperly extended patent term. HGS claims that Genentech used the allegedly fraudulent patent to block the introduction of new drugs, including Benlysta, a new monoclonal antibody drug developed by HGS and GlaxoSmithKline to treat Lupus – an often-debilitating immune system disease.
HGS brings this action just as it is making news with Benlysta. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Benlysta as a treatment for Lupus on March 9, 2011. Benlysta is the first new drug approved to treat Lupus in 50 years.
Genentech has indicated that it intends to bring claims of infringement for the manufacture of Benlysta.
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