Monday, September 18, 2006

ImClone loses inventorship case on Erbitux

Further to an earlier IPBiz post, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald made a finding in a 140-page opinion that said lawyers for the Israeli scientists had proved the scientists were entitled to sole inventorship of the Erbitux patent. Three Israelis are the inventors of Erbitux.

The New York Times noted: Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and its licensing arm, the Yeda Research and Development Company, said researchers with the institute developed the technology that a Sanofi-Aventis predecessor, Aventis, patented and licensed to ImClone. The district court ruling could entitle the Israelis to royalties on Erbitux, which is ImClone’s only marketed product. United States sales of the cancer treatment were $172.8 million in the second quarter. The patented technology is for a combination of an antibody with chemotherapy to inhibit tumor growth. Erbitux belongs to a group of cancer drugs called epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors.

[Yes, this is the company (ImClone)/drug (Erbitux) related to the Martha Stewart problem. ImClone founder, Sam Waksal, is serving a prison sentence for his role in the stock scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart. Yes, BMS was involved. A lawyer for Aventis later noted that one trial witness had remarked that hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake for Yeda and Erbitux, which is distributed in the U.S. by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Yes, this is another case wherein an academic entity (here Weismann) has prevailed over commercial entities in the patent arena. Recall Ariad v. Lilly.]

The result of the case makes one wonder about due diligence at Aventis and BMS. How could one miss a significant inventorship issue?

[IPBiz post 1997]


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