“High-Stakes Battle”


“A high-stakes battle between two drug companies over the multibillion-dollar sales of new hepatitis C treatments is kicking off in a California courtroom this week.  On one side, Gilead Sciences claims that it should not have to share any of the sales of its new hepatitis C drugs, Svaldi and Harvoni.  Last year, combined worldwide sales of the two drugs were $19.1 billion.  On the other side, Merck & Co. claims it should receive a share of the profits.

Merck’s claim is based on the active ingredient in Gilead’s drugs, sofosbuvir.  Merck claims sofosbuvir infringes on two patents owned by Merck covering related compounds.  Merck is suing for royalties.

This suit is atypical in the world of patent battles.  Patent battles usually involve branded drugmakers trying to block generic competitors from selling cheap copies of their drugs.  This suit pits branded drugmaker against branded drugmaker.  The massive profits enjoyed by drug companies may pave the way for similar suits as companies fight for market share.”