Royalties From Blockbuster Hep C Drug On Line With Jury Decision On Merck Patents
Merck & Co. wants $3 billion from Gilead Sciences to license two patents for compounds used in Sovaldi and Harvoni. Opening arguments began in a San Jose federal court this week to determine if those patents are valid.
Gilead, Merck Spar Over Hepatitis C $1,000-Pill Royalties
Gilead Sciences Inc., which pioneered a cure for hepatitis C, is trying to fend off a demand by Merck & Co. for more than $3 billion in a patent dispute over the liver disease treatment. A compound in Gilead’s blockbuster drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni was found by a judge last month to have infringed Merck’s patents. Now, a jury must decide whether those patents are still valid, and if so, how much Gilead owes Merck in royalties. Gilead plans to show jurors that scientists were working on the foundation for its medicine at least as early as 2001, a year before Merck got the patent rights that it’s seeking to enforce in the case, Juanita Brooks, a lawyer for the world’s largest biotechnology firm, said Monday during opening arguments at a trial in federal court in San Jose, California. (Mehrotra, 3/7)