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Bristol Myers Squibb sues AstraZeneca over alleged patent infringement of cancer drug

Published on 25/01/23 at 10:32am

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca, alleging that AstraZeneca’s Imjudo infringes patents from its blockbuster drug Yervoy. The company also sued AstraZeneca last year over another cancer immunotherapy.

AstraZeneca’s Imjudo was approved by the FDA last year for the treatment of liver and lung cancer when used in combination with Imfinzi, another of AstraZeneca’s cancer drugs. BMS’s Yervoy is an immunotherapy treatment, approved by the FDA in 2011 to treat melanoma, having since been approved by the agency to treat kidney, lung, colorectal and other cancers. In 2021, BMS sold over $2bn worth of Yervoy, according to a report by the company.

Last year BMS also sued AstraZeneca over Imfinzi, also over patent infringement. This time, the company are accusing AstraZeneca of infringing two patents regarding the use of antibodies to treat cancer and boost the immune response in patients. BMS have suggested that AstraZeneca was aware of the patents or was “willfully blind” to them.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca has been reported as saying the company is “aware of the complaint” and “will review the complaint and will respond at the appropriate time.”

The lawsuit states that AstraZeneca is “exploiting BMS’s inventions and willingly infringing BMS’s intellectual property rights by marketing an infringing anti-CTLA-4 antibody product… without having first obtained permission from BMS or a license to BMS’s intellectual property rights.”


Betsy Goodfellow

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