Fierce Biotech reports that Gilead is getting a lot of attention from rivals Merck and Roche as its hepatitis C drug, sofosbuvir, approaches expected approval by FDA in December of this year. Idenix is also claiming its place in line to grab for sofosbuvir by including the drug in a list of metabolites it claims in ints patents.
You may remember that Gilead bought Pharmasset for a startling $11B a few years ago to gain control of this very drug. The drug is considered to be a potential game changer in hepatitis C treatment. Analysts variously estimate peak sales to be in $4B to $5B range.
Gilead says Roche's claim has no merit. It says any agreement that it had with Pharmasset ended several years before it even purchased the company. Gilead also says its own patent cover sofosbuvir and dismisses merit of any Idenix patents. That leaves Merck which claims Gilead should pay it 10% royalties on sofosbuvir sales due to two patents it holds that it claims Gilead would need to practice. It gave Gilead until today to respond to its claims.
It's clear that this property is valuable so anyone -- even with a tenuous claim -- may find it to be well worth the legal investment to try to get in on the action. Legal costs are much likely to be far less than costs that would be incurred to actually invent ones own drug, right?
Posted by Bruce Lehr Aug 31st 2013.