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Court throws out Allergan's patent deal with Native American tribe

Rules the contentious agreement can't protect its dry eye treatment Restasis


A US judge has sent Allergan into a spin following a ruling on patents protecting its blockbuster dry eye treatment Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion).

Allergan has been under fire since it sold its eye drop medication patents to Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe - a Native American group based in a rural region between Canada and New York - for $13.75m and potential annual royalties of around $15m.

This led to rivals accusing Allergan of evading generic competition by transferring patents to the tribe so that the drug could be covered by ‘sovereign immunity’ and patent challenges to it thus be dismissed.

However, the manoeuvre failed to pay off as US district Judge William Bryson ruled four of its six patents sold to the tribe were ‘invalid’.

Robert Baily, chief legal officer, Allergan, said: “We are disappointed by the Federal District Court’s decision on the Restasis patents and we are carefully reviewing the decision and are considering all options.”

The legal battle is far from over however, as the company said it would appeal the court’s ruling.

Baily added: “Allergan remains committed to vigorously defending the intellectual property of our products, which allows us to continue to invest in developing and bringing forward new medicines for millions of patients.”

Meanwhile, the decision means that generic competitors Mylan and Teva could soon be free to market a more cost-effective version of the eye drop.

Article by
Gemma Jones

18th October 2017

From: Sales



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