Eli Lilly Wins UK Patent Case for Cancer Drug Alimta

Eli Lilly and Company has received a favorable ruling from the UK Supreme Court regarding patent litigation regarding the company’s anticancer drug, Alimta (pemetrexed disodium), which is used to treat certain forms of lung cancer. Alimta is one of Lilly’s top-selling drugs with global 2016 sales of $2.3 billion.

In litigation regarding alternative salt forms of Alimta, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Actavis’s products directly infringe Eli Lilly and Company’s vitamin-regimen patents in the UK, France, Italy, and Spain. The UK Supreme Court also affirmed the indirect infringement finding by the UK Court of Appeal. The full judgment was scheduled to be handed down on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. The ruling came in the case of Actavis v. Eli Lilly and Company

In June of 2015, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the Alimta vitamin-regimen patent would be indirectly infringed when the generic product is reconstituted or diluted in saline, but not directly infringed under the doctrine of equivalents. Following this decision, Actavis launched pemetrexed Armisarte, previously pemetrexed Actavis, at risk. The the UK Supreme Court found the Actavis product infringing, regardless of the diluent used in reconstitution or dilution.

“While we do not yet know the court’s reasoning, we are pleased with the UK Supreme Court’s key conclusions that confirm the Alimta vitamin-regimen patent would be infringed by these generic pemetrexed products in the UK, France, Italy and Spain prior to June 2021,” said Michael J. Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel for Lilly, in a company statement.

In 2016, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries acquired the generics business of Allergan (i.e., the Actavis generics business) for $40.5 billion. Allergan had been acquired by Actavis in 2015, and the companies later took the Allergan name as its corporate name and kept the Actavis name for its generic business.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company  

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