AstraZeneca has reached a stunning resolution to their long-running patent-infringement battle against top competitor Bristol-Myers Squibb with a hefty $510 million payout. This significant settlement ends a dispute that has gone on for years and involved blockbuster cancer immunotherapies.
BMS brought three lawsuits against AstraZeneca claiming that its drugs, Imfinzi and Imjudo, infringed on the patents of their own therapies: Opdivo and Yervoy. Having suffered losses due to the alleged infringement, BMS sought compensation for their diminished earnings.
Divide and conquer – that’s the strategy employed to devastating effect by the cancer treatments generated by two powerful PD-1 inhibitors, Opdivo and Imfinzi. With billions of dollars in sales earned by their respective companies, the two treatments are helping to win the fight against cancer. Joining the battle against cancer are two anti-CTLA-4 antibodies, Yervoy and Imjudo, both of which have proven to be powerful weapons in the fight against the disease.
In 2011, Yervoy became the first FDA-approved treatment for melanoma and has since been approved to treat various other types of cancer, such as kidney, lung, and colorectal cancer. In 2021 alone, Yervoy sales reached over $2 billion, marking an enormous success for Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Last October, Yervoy was also approved in combination with Imfinzi to treat liver cancer, further showing its significant impact on oncology care.
In a move that surprised analysts, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on Monday gave his stamp of approval to the two companies’ mutual agreement to swiftly dismiss the three lawsuits that they had filed against each other. This resolution not only saves both companies time and money, but highlights a rare case in which a dispute can end amicably.
In March 2022, BMS sued AstraZeneca over eight Opdivo patents, then adding another claim in April of that year. fast forward to January 2023, they then filed a third lawsuit, this one focused on Yervoy and Imjudo. The District of Delaware promptly issued a scheduling order, setting the trial date for April 2024.
On Friday, AstraZeneca released its second-quarter earnings report which included the announcement of a global settlement agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Ono Pharmaceuticals: the agreement resolves all patent disputes between the companies in relation to the drugs Imfinzi and Imjudo, and totals an impressive $510 million.
BMS and Ono Pharmaceutical have again achieved success in defending their patents – this time settling for $625 million with Merck in a PD-1 patent lawsuit. This is not the first time the two firms have celebrated such a victory, having accepted a similar deal worth millions of dollars in 2017.