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Celgene settles with Elan over cancer drug

Celgene has agreed to pay $76m to settle patent infringement litigation filed by Elan involving the breast cancer drug Abraxane

Celgene has agreed to pay $76m to settle patent infringement litigation filed by Elan involving the breast cancer drug Abraxane, a modified form of paclitaxel that Celgene acquired through its October 2010 merger with the biotech company Abraxis BioScience.

Abraxane won US approval in early 2005 as a treatment for breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within six months of adjuvant chemotherapy. The drug was approved in Europe for a similar indication in 2008.

The settlement and licence agreement resolves Elan's 2006 suit against Abraxis through the one-time payment. Elan is not entitled to any additional payments tied to sales of Abraxane or any other products that make use of Abraxis' nab-Paclitaxel technology, which wraps paclitaxel inside albumin, a naturally-occurring human protein, allowing the drug to be administered to the tumour site at higher doses than previously possible. Abraxis is investigating the technology for use in other indications, including non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma.

Celgene will acquire a fully-paid up, exclusive, worldwide licence to select Elan US and foreign patents for Abraxane.

In June 2008, a jury awarded Elan $55.2m in damages in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, after it determined that Abraxis had infringed a patent covering the coated nanoparticles used in Abraxane. Abraxis appealed the decision, eventually leading to the current settlement.

Celgene bought Abraxis last year for around $2.9bn in upfront payments, in addition to potential milestone payments and royalties due to shareholders.

25th February 2011

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