Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion Summaries

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's dismissal of a third amended complaint (TAC) brought by plaintiffs, a putative class of former NFL players, alleging that the NFL negligently facilitated the hand-out of controlled substances to dull players' pain and to return them to the game in order to maximize profits. The NFL allegedly conducted studies and promulgated rules regarding how Clubs should handle distribution of the medications at issue, but failed to ensure compliance with them, with medical ethics, or with federal laws such as the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The panel agreed with the district court that two of plaintiffs' theories of negligence, negligence per se and special relationship, were insufficiently pled. However, the panel held that plaintiff's voluntary undertaking theory survives dismissal, given sufficient allegations in the TAC of the NFL's failure to "use its authority to provide routine and important safety measures" regarding distribution of medications and returning athletes to play after injury. Furthermore, if proven, a voluntary undertaking theory could establish a duty owed by the NFL to protect player safety after injury, breach of that duty by incentivizing premature return to play, and liability for resulting damages. View "Dent v. National Football League" on Justia Law

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Granny Purps grows and provides medical marijuana to its 20,000 members, in compliance with state laws governing the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Santa Cruz County’s ordinance prohibits any medical cannabis operation from cultivating more than 99 plants; Granny’s dispensary was growing thousands of marijuana plants. The sheriff’s office went to the dispensary in June 2015, seized about 1,800 plants, and issued a notice of ordinance violation. Several months later, officers again went to the dispensary and took about 400 more marijuana plants. Granny sued, alleging conversion, trespass, and inverse condemnation and sought an order requiring the county to return the seized cannabis plants, The trial court dismissed. The court of appeal reversed. A government entity does not have to return seized property if the property itself is illegal but the Santa Cruz ordinance ultimately regulates land use within the county; it does not (nor could it) render illegal a substance that is legal under state law. View "Granny Purps, Inc. v. County of Santa Cruz" on Justia Law

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Bio-Rad’s patents are directed to systems and methods for forming microscopic droplets (plugs) of fluids to perform biochemical reactions. Microfluidic systems—often called “labs-on-a-chip”—allow scientists to conduct microscale chemical and biological reactions. For example, the technology allows scientists to analyze and compare DNA, RNA, and proteins within large numbers of individual cells. This technology has applications in medical diagnostics and high-throughput screening. In an infringement suit, the jury found all three patents valid and willfully infringed and awarded damages of $23,930,716. The court granted Bio-Rad’s motion for a permanent injunction. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of infringement of one patent (which covers all six accused products) and the entire damages award. Prosecution history estoppel does not apply and 10X’s challenges concerning the infringement under the doctrine of equivalents fail. The court reversed the district court’s construction of the asserted claims of two patents, vacated the judgment of infringement of those patents, and remanded for a new trial on the issue of whether 10X’s accused products infringe those patents under the proper claim construction. The court also vacated the injunction with respect to 10X’s Linked-Reads and CNV product lines. View "Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. 10X Genomics Inc." on Justia Law

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Takeda sued Mylan for patent infringement based on Mylan’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for a generic version of Takeda’s Colcrys® version of the drug colchicine. The parties settled, entering into a License Agreement that allows Mylan to sell a generic colchicine product on a specified date or under circumstances defined in Section 1.2, which refers the date of a final court decision holding that all unexpired claims of the licensed patents that were asserted and adjudicated against a third party are not infringed, invalid, or unenforceable. The parties stipulated that Mylar's breach of Section 1.2 “would cause Takeda irreparable harm.” Takeda also sued Hikma based on Hikma’s FDA-approved colchicine product Mitigare®. The district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement. After Mylan launched its product, Takeda sued, alleging breach of contract and patent infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction. Takeda failed to show it is likely to succeed on the merits or that it will suffer irreparable harm. Section 1.2(d) was triggered by the third-party litigation; all unexpired claims of the three patents that were “asserted and adjudicated” were held to be not infringed. An objective, reasonable third party would not read Section 1.2(d) to be limited to generic equivalents of Colcrys® excluding section 505(b)(2) products like Mitigare®. Because Takeda had not established that Mylan breached the Agreement, the irreparable harm stipulation did not apply. Money damages would remedy any harm Takeda would suffer as a result of Mylan launching its generic product. View "Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

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XY sued Trans Ova for infringement of seven patents relating to technology for sex selection of non-human mammals. Its 559 patent is titled “Enhancing Flow Cytometry Discrimination with Geometric Transformation.” Flow cytometers can be used as “high-speed jet-in-air sorters to discriminate particles and cells that are only subtly different.” The patent relates to “apparatus and methods for real-time discrimination of particles while being sorted by flow cytometry . . . resulting in enhanced discrimination between populations of particles” and “can be used to separate X from Y bearing sperm,” an application useful in animal husbandry to “guarantee[] the sex of offspring.” The district court found asserted claims 1–23 of the 559 patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101 and that XY’s patent-infringement allegations with respect to certain claims of other patents were claim-precluded based on a prior lawsuit filed by XY against Trans Ova. The Federal Circuit reversed. The asserted claims of the patent are directed to a patent-eligible improvement to a method of sorting particles using flow cytometry technology, not to an abstract idea. The district court did not apply the proper legal standard to its claim-preclusion analysis. The court vacated the claim-preclusion judgment. View "XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC" on Justia Law

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IBSA's patent, entitled “Pharmaceutical Formulations for Thyroid Hormones,” provides “pharmaceutical formulations based on thyroid hormones enabling a safe and stable oral administration in the framework of the strict therapeutic index prescribed in case of thyroid disorders.” It is listed in the FDA’s “Orange Book” for IBSA’s Tirosint® product, a soft gel capsule formulation containing the active ingredient levothyroxine sodium. Teva sought to market a generic version of Tirosint® and filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) that included a “Paragraph IV certification” that the 390 patent is invalid, unenforceable, or will not be infringed by Teva’s generic product. IBSA filed suit, alleging infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that certain claims are invalid as indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112. The intrinsic evidence fails to establish the boundaries of the claim term “half-liquid” and there was no clear error in the court’s determination that the extrinsic evidence does not supply “half-liquid” with a definite meaning under section 112. View "IBSA Institut Biochimique v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA" on Justia Law

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Reckitt developed Suboxone tablets, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction. Toward the end of its seven-year period of exclusivity in which other manufacturers could not introduce generic versions, Reckitt developed an under-the-tongue film version of Suboxone, which would enjoy its own exclusivity period. Generic versions of Suboxone tablets would not be rated as equivalent to the name-brand Suboxone film, so state substitution laws would not require pharmacists to substitute generic Suboxone tablets if a patient were prescribed Suboxone film. Purchasers filed suit, alleging that Reckitt’s transition to Suboxone film was coupled with efforts to eliminate the demand for Suboxone tablets and to coerce prescribers to prefer film in order to maintain monopoly power, in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2. The Purchasers submitted an expert report indicating that, due to Reckitt’s allegedly-anticompetitive conduct, the proposed class paid more for brand Suboxone products. The district court certified a class of “[a]ll persons or entities . . . who purchased branded Suboxone tablets directly from Reckitt” during a specified period. The Third Circuit affirmed. Common evidence exists to prove the Purchasers’ antitrust theory and the resulting injury. Although allocating the damages among class members may be necessary after judgment, such individual questions do not ordinarily preclude the use of the class action device; the court correctly found that common issues predominate. View "In re: Suboxone Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging that she used defendants' prescription chemotherapy drug and now suffers from permanent hair loss. As a plaintiff in this multidistrict litigation (MDL), plaintiff was required to serve defendants with a completed fact sheet disclosing details of her personal and medical history soon after filing her short form complaint. She failed to do so in this case. The court applied the Deepwater Horizon two-factor test to the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's case and held that the district court was not required to make specific factual findings on each of the Deepwater Horizon prongs before dismissing plaintiff's case. The court explained that plaintiff exhibited a clear record of delay sufficient to meet the first prong in the Deepwater Horizon test, and lesser sanctions would not have served the best interests of justice. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. View "Kuykendall v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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Each patent at issue claims a method of treating cancer by administering antibodies targeting specific receptor-ligand interactions on T cells, which are responsible for processing information to develop an immune response in the body using receptors on their surfaces. The named inventor Dr. Honjo, a professor at Kyoto University, had shared information with Drs. Wood and Freeman until about 2001. In 2002, Honjo filed his patent application in Japan. Each patent at issue case claims priority from that patent application; none include Freeman and Wood as inventors. The Federal Circuit affirmed that Drs. Freeman and Wood should be deemed inventors of the subject matter of the patents alongside Dr. Honjo, 35 U.S.C. 116(a). The inventorship of a complex invention may depend on partial contributions to conception over time, and there is no principled reason to discount genuine contributions made by collaborators because portions of that work were published prior to conception for the benefit of the public. Earlier publication of an invention is obviously a potential hazard to patentability, but the publication of a portion of a complex invention does not necessarily defeat joint inventorship of that invention. View "Dana-Farber Cancer Institute v. Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action under S.E.C. Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5, following the failure of NewLink's Phase 3 clinical trial for a novel pancreatic cancer drug and the resulting decline in the market value of NewLink shares. The Second Circuit held that defendants' statements about the efficacy of their pancreatic cancer drug were puffery, not material misrepresentations. However, the court held that plaintiffs plausibly pled material misrepresentation and loss causation for defendants' statements about the scientific literature and the design of their clinical trial. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal in part regarding the 2013-2016 Assessments; vacated the dismissal in part regarding the September, March, and Enrollment statements; and remanded for further proceedings. View "Nguyen v. NewLink" on Justia Law