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AbbVie suffers knock to Humira patent

Published on 19/05/17 at 10:01am

Humira is the largest selling pharmaceutical drug in the world. The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis brought in over $16 billion for AbbVie in 2016 alone so it should come as no surprise that there are a few companies looking to get their biosimilars to market to attain a slice of the profit.

The problem facing any company trying to do this is the wall of patents that AbbVie has built around its product to protect it from this eventuality. However, it has suffered a minor blow as one brick has been taken out of this protection with the loss of the ‘135 patent.

The case was brought against AbbVie by the tiny biosimilar developer, Coherus BioSciences. The rival company is hoping to eventually be able to bring its own Humira biosimilar to market and successfully chipping away at Humira’s patent protection is the only way this will happen.

Analysts were expecting a biosimilar rival to Humira to enter the market around 2020 but, as a result of this verdict by the US Patent and Trademark Office, this could now be brought forward to sometime in 2019. AbbVie has patents to run through until 2022 but it is thought that potential rival products may be able to find a way around these patents.

However, there is still a long way to go – with the next step not being much further than the appeal’s court, as AbbVie is expected to appeal the decision.

AbbVie released a statement regarding the decision: “We are disappointed by the ruling from the PTAB. Humira represents true innovation in the field of biologics and is protected by a vast portfolio of intellectual property. We intend to appeal this decision.”

Ben Hargreaves

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