Merck's patent suit could land them billions of dollars from Gilead
Mar 23, 2016 07:43 AM EDT
The jury has upheld the validity of Merck's patent on two of its high-profile drugs against hepatitis C. The company is now seeking more than $2 billion in damages from rival drug maker Gilead.
The San Jose California court is now hearing the evidence regarding the amount of money Gilead must pay Merck. Its attorney, Bruce Genderson, said that they are looking to get a 10 percent cut on Gilead's sales, which reached nearly $21 billion in the United States from the year 2014 to 2015. According to TWST, Ionis, Merck's partner, will receive 20 percent of the damages that will be paid to Merck and will also receive 20 percent of all future payments that will be made.
Aside from the sales in the U.S., Merck is also asking for a 10 percent royalty with regards to Gilead's blockbuster hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi and Harvoni, which also generated $19.2 billion on sales worldwide. Gilead's shares in the market fell $1.92 to $91.80 after the verdict was announced, while Merck's share rose 57 cents.
On the other hand, Gilead's spokeswoman, Michele Rest, said that they were disappointed with the jury's verdict. No words yet on whether they will file a potential appeal. Merck on the other hand was satisfied and said that the verdict reflects the actual evidence that was presented, as per Reuters.
The trial started last March 7 as pharmaceutical companies are in an arms race to create a drug that will cure hepatitis C and almost any other liver diseases which have a very big market worldwide. As reported by PR News Wire, Merck collaborated with Ionis to create a modified nucleosides that benefit patients with hepatitis in 1998.
Merck then contacted Gilead in 2013 saying that the active ingredient of Gilead's drug, Sofosbuvir, is a replica of their patent. Gilead said to the U.S. District Court of Northern California that the patents that Merck have doesn't really clarify the specific disease that it cures and added that Merck has nothing to do with the discovery of Sofosbuvir. U.S District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled that Gilead did actually copied Merck's trademark in last month's hearing.