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Abbott to pay $1.67bn to J&J

A US federal jury has ruled that Abbott is to pay Johnson & Johnson $1.67bn for infringing a patent

A US federal jury has ruled that Abbott is to pay Johnson & Johnson (J&J)  $1.67bn for infringing a patent that was allegedly used to develop its arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab).

The Texan court determined that Abbott's actions were willful and sided with J&J, the world's biggest healthcare company. J&J is owed $1.17bn in lost profits and $504m in royalties. Abbott has said it will appeal the verdict.

Abbott spokesperson Scott Stoffel remarked: "We are confident in the merits of our case and that we will prevail on appeal."

Centocor claimed that Humira is made using technology developed by New York University (NYU) and exclusively licensed to the J&J unit. The NYU property related to antibodies against tumour necrosis factor (TNF), which is linked to inflammation. Humira works by blocking the action of the TNF protein.

Humira generated $4.5bn in global sales last year, around 15 per cent of Abbotts' total revenue. The company has projected global sales of 15 to 20 per cent this year.

Kim Taylor, President of J&J's Centocor Ortho Biotech unit, said: "We are particularly gratified that the jury recognised our valuable intellectual property, finding our patent both valid and infringed."

30th June 2009

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