Eli Lilly’s “unusual ammo” to fend off generic competition

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Eli Lilly, who are facing rather a large patent cliff, is employing what Reuters call "unusual ammo" to fend off generic competition.

Lilly is currently embroiled in a patent battle with generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, centred around Lilly's lung cancer drug Alimta. Last summer, the US Court of Appeals upheld the validity of the patent on Alimta's chemical structure, protecting the drug from generic competition until January 2017. A separate "method-of-use" patent, however, would protect the drug until 2022 if upheld by the Indianapolis court. The method-of-use patent covers the descriptions on the way Alimta is administered – that is, with folic acid and vitamin B12, to prevent side effects of the drug.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of a company going down this route to defend a patent, by adding nutrients” to a drug regimen, Les Funtleyder, a healthcare strategist at Poliwogg, told Reuters. “So the likely outcome of this case is not clear cut.”

Lilly plans to defend the method-of-use patent. “We believe this patent is valid and enforceable and we are prepared to defend our intellectual property,” said company spokesman Ed Sagabiel. “The significant scientific research that Lilly performed in support of the vitamin dosage regimen patent deserves intellectual property protection.”

Read more at Reuters >

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If you're interested in understanding the key market trends, policy updates, strategy and future environment for the generics sector, you might be be interested in attending World Generic Medicines Congress Americas 2013, 19-21 November 2013, Boston.

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