Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
by
Merck’s 708 patent describes sitagliptin dihydrogen phosphate (sitagliptin DHP), which belongs to the class of dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DP-IV) inhibitors that can be used for treating non-insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetes. Mylan petitioned for inter partes review, arguing that claims 1–3, 17, 19, and 21–23 were anticipated by the Merck-owned 489 publication, and the equivalent 871 patent (collectively, Edmondson) Edmondson is directed to compounds that are DP-IV inhibitors, useful in the treatment or prevention of diseases in which the dipeptidyl peptidase-IV enzyme is involved, such as diabetes and particularly type 2 diabetes. Mylan also argued that claims 1–4, 17, 19, and 21–23 would have been obvious over Edmondson and two additional publications.The Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding that Mylan failed to show that claims 1–4, 17, 19, and 21–23 were anticipated or would have been obvious over the cited prior art at the time the alleged invention was made. Merck reduced to practice more than what is shown in Edmondson for the claimed subject matter. View "Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.," on Justia Law

by
Since 2014 Par has manufactured and sold Vasostrict®, an FDA-approved vasopressin injection product used to treat patients with critically low blood pressure. The Orange Book identifies Par’s 785 and 209 patents as encompassing Vasostrict®. Both patents require the vasopressin composition to have a rounded pH between 3.7–3.9. In 2018, Eagle filed an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) to manufacture and sell a generic version of Vasostrict® before those patents expired. Eagle represented in its release specification that the pH range would be between 3.4–3.6. Eagle’s ANDA also contained 35 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV) certification that Par’s patents are invalid or will not be infringed by Eagle’s proposed product.Par sued for infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2). Eagle stipulated that its proposed product would meet all asserted claim limitations except the claimed pH range. Par argued that “real-world” evidence shows the pH of Eagle’s product drifts up over time and that Eagle sought authority to release products into the marketplace with a pH of 3.64, just 0.01 beneath the infringing range. The Federal Circuit affirmed the rejection of those arguments. Minor fluctuations in pH value identified by Par did not reveal any discernible trend and the stability specification imposed an additional constraint that Eagle’s proposed product maintain a pH between 3.4–3.6 from the time of its distribution through its entire shelf life. View "Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. v. Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The patents share the same specification and are entitled “Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Graft Rejection in Organ Transplant Patients.” They discuss diagnosing or predicting organ transplant status by using methods to detect a donor’s cell-free DNA (cfDNA). When an organ transplant is rejected, the recipient’s body, through its natural immune response, destroys the donor cells, releasing cfDNA from the donated organ’s dying cells into the blood. These increased levels of donor cfDNA—which occur naturally as the organ’s condition deteriorates—can be detected and then used to diagnose the likelihood of an organ transplant rejection.In an infringement action, the district court found the patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The court applied the Supreme Court’s two-part “Alice” test to determine whether the claims were patent-eligible applications of laws of nature and natural phenomena or claims that impermissibly tie up such laws and phenomena. The claims boil down to collecting a bodily sample, analyzing the cfDNA using conventional techniques, including PCR, identifying naturally occurring DNA from the donor organ, and then using the natural correlation between heightened cfDNA levels and transplant health to identify a potential rejection, none of which was inventive. This is not a case involving a method of preparation or a new measurement technique. View "CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc" on Justia Law

by
Novartis markets a 0.5 mg daily dose of fingolimod hydrochloride under the brand name Gilenya, for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a debilitating immune-mediated demyelinating disease. There is currently no cure for MS. The disease is managed by reducing or preventing relapses and thereby slowing disability. HEC filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to market a generic version of Gilenya. Novartis sued, alleging that HEC’s ANDA infringes all claims of its patent. The Federal Circuit initially affirmed a holding that the patent is not invalid and that HEC’s ANDA infringes that patent.On rehearing, the Federal Circuit reversed. Because the Novartis patent fails to disclose the absence of a loading dose, the district court clearly erred in finding that the negative claim limitation “absent an immediately preceding loading dose” added during prosecution to overcome prior art satisfied the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). The specification nowhere describes “initially” administering a daily dosage. View "Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In 2009, six-month-old Trystan received vaccines, including DTaP-HepB-IPV. Hours later, Trystan developed a fever and was in pain; he developed a hot lump on his thigh. Trystan’s mother took him to urgent care, where he was diagnosed with a “common cold.” Trystan’s arm contortions continued. At his one-year exam, Trystan could not stand, crawl, grasp, hold his head up while sitting, or attempt to move his lower extremities. Trystan received additional vaccinations. His arm contortions returned. Trystan had muscle spasms, developmental delays, seizures, dystonia, and other neurologic issues. In 2014, Trystan was diagnosed with Leigh’s syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that often presents in the first year of life, is characterized by progressive loss of mental and movement abilities, and typically results in death. Genetic testing showed that Trystan has two associated disease-causing mutations.His parents sought compensation under the Vaccine Act, 42 U.S.C. 300aa–1. The Claims Court upheld determinations that Trystan did not experience neurologic deterioration until many weeks after his 2009 vaccination and that Trystan’s genetic mutations solely caused his Leigh’s syndrome. The Federal Circuit reversed. Because the contortions began within two weeks of his vaccinations, Trystan has shown a logical chain of cause and effect between his vaccination and his neurodegeneration, satisfying his burden. He is entitled to compensation unless the Secretary establishes the injury was due to factors unrelated to the vaccine. There is no evidence that Trystan’s mutations would have resulted in the same progression and severity of his Leigh’s syndrome absent the vaccine. View "T.S. v. Secretary of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

by
Congestive heart failure can be treated by resynchronization therapy, using electrical pacing leads to help keep the two sides of the heart contracting with regularity and in sync. According to Niazi's 268 patent, physicians previously accomplished resynchronization by inserting a catheter into the coronary sinus and its branch veins to place pacing leads on the hearts of patients; it can be “difficult to pass a lead” into the coronary sinus and its branch veins using a catheter. The 268 patent describes a double catheter, comprising an outer and inner catheter, for cannulating the coronary sinus “without significant manipulation.” Niazi sued for patent infringement, accusing combinations of St. Jude’s products of directly infringing the 268 patent and accusing St. Jude of inducing infringement.The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s determination that all but one of the asserted patent claims are invalid as indefinite; when read in light of the intrinsic evidence, a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the scope of the claims with reasonable certainty. Niazi failed to prove direct infringement—a necessary element of Niazi’s inducement claim. The court affirmed the entry of monetary sanctions and the exclusion of portions of Niazi’s technical expert and damages expert reports because Niazi failed to disclose predicate facts during discovery. The court upheld the exclusion of portions of Niazi’s damages expert report as unreliable. View "Niazi Licensing Corp. v. St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Almirall’s patent relates to methods of treating acne or rosacea with dapsone formulations that include an acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer (A/SA) thickening agent and the solvent diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DGME), which allows compositions to be prepared with increased solubilized concentrations of dapsone. A polymeric viscosity builder such as an A/SA, can minimize the yellowing of the composition and can reduce the particle size, and minimize a gritty feel upon application. The Almirral patent includes 62 generalized composition embodiments and eight specific example formulations.On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed that claims 1–8 would have been obvious over prior art at the time the alleged invention was made. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board’s decision sets forth factual findings of similarity between carbomers and A/SA agents that support its conclusion that prior art discloses a range for each component of the composition that either fully encompasses or overlaps/abuts the ranges and amounts for those components recited in the challenged claims, sufficient to create a presumption of obviousness. The court upheld the Board’s analysis of whether a skilled artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success in combining prior art teachings to achieve the claimed invention. View "Almirall, LLC v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Adapt’s patents-in-suit claim methods of treating opioid overdose by intranasal administration of a naloxone formulation, and devices for intranasal administration. Naloxone—the active ingredient in Adapt’s NARCAN® Nasal Spray—is an opioid receptor antagonist that blocks opioids from reaching the opioid receptors, helping reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Before the priority date of the patents-in-suit, numerous naloxone products had been used to treat opioid overdose. The patents-in-suit are listed in the FDA’s “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations” “Orange Book.” Teva submitted to the FDA Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to manufacture and sell a generic version of NARCAN®., with a Paragraph IV certification asserting that the patents-in-suit are invalid, unenforceable, and/or not infringed, 21 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV).Adapt sued Teva for infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2). The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit would have been obvious in view of prior art. The district court’s findings, supported by ample evidence, provide a detailed explanation as to why a skilled artisan would have been motivated to combine the prior art references to arrive at the claimed invention. Prior art, as a whole, did not teach away from the claimed invention. The court rejected Adapt’s argument that its evidence of unexpected results, copying, skepticism, long-felt need, and failure of others indicated nonobviousness. View "Adapt Pharma Operations Ltd. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Novartis markets a 0.5 mg daily dose of fingolimod hydrochloride under the brand name Gilenya. The medication is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a debilitating immune-mediated demyelinating disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin coating the nerves in the central nervous system. Most MS patients initially present as RRMS patients, but many eventually develop a secondary progressive form of MS, causing them to experience growing disability. There is currently no cure for MS. The disease is managed by reducing or preventing relapses and thereby slowing disability.HEC filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval to market a generic version of Gilenya. Novartis sued, alleging that HEC’s ANDA infringes all claims of the 405 patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that the patent is not invalid and that HEC’s ANDA infringes. The 405 claims do not fail the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). The district court did not clearly err in finding that a skilled artisan would read the 405 patent’s disclosure to describe the “absent an immediately preceding loading dose” negative limitation. View "Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

by
AstraZeneca’s asserted patents are listed in the FDA’s “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations” (Orange Book), as covering AstraZeneca’s Symbicort® pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI). The Symbicort® pMDI is approved for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). AstraZeneca has marketed a dry powder inhaler version of Symbicort® (Symbicort® Turbuhaler) since the early 1990s. Both the Symbicort® pMDI and the Symbicort® Turbuhaler administer two active ingredients to the lungs—formoterol, a bronchodilator that opens the airway, and budesonide, a steroid that reduces inflammation in the lungs. Mylar's predecessor submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to the FDA, seeking approval to manufacture and sell a generic version of Symbicort® pMDI.AstraZeneca sued Mylan for infringement. After claim construction, Mylan stipulated to infringement. The district court entered judgment accordingly, then held a bench trial and determined that Mylan failed to prove that the asserted claims are invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit vacated the judgment of infringement, disagreeing with the district court’s claim construction of “0.001%,” the claimed amount of the excipient PVP, on which the stipulated judgment of infringement was based. The court affirmed the determination of nonobviousness, finding no clear error in the district court’s finding that the prior art taught away from the claimed invention. View "AstraZeneca AB v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law