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Eli Lilly Vs Dr Reddys, Hospira: Court rules in favour of Lilly in Alimta alternate salt form patent lawsuit

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The ruling came in the appeals of U.S. District Court decisions in the cases of Eli Lilly and Company v. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Eli Lilly and Company v. Hospira, Inc. Previous rulings in Lilly’s favour had precluded the generic companies from launching the alternative salt forms until the patent expires.

INDIANAPOLIS: Eli Lilly and Company recently announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favour of Lilly, confirming that the Alimta (pemetrexed for injection) vitamin regimen patent would be infringed by competitors that had stated their intent to market alternative salt forms of pemetrexed prior to the patent’s expiration in May 2022.

The ruling came in the appeals of U.S. District Court decisions in the cases of Eli Lilly and Company v. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Eli Lilly and Company v. Hospira, Inc. Previous rulings in Lilly’s favour had precluded the generic companies from launching the alternative salt forms until the patent expires.

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If the patent is ultimately upheld through all remaining challenges, Alimta would maintain U.S. exclusivity until May 2022, preventing marketing of generic products for as long as the patent remains in force.

“We’re pleased with this decision,” said Michael J. Harrington, Lilly’s senior vice president and general counsel. “Lilly’s extensive research to discover this patent deserves intellectual property protection, which has been confirmed in every challenge in the U.S. to date.”

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On June 22, 2018, Lilly announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled in favour of Lilly that the Alimta vitamin regimen patent would be infringed by the use of Dr Reddy’s alternative salt form of pemetrexed prior to the patent’s expiration. The district court found the generic product would infringe under the doctrine of equivalents.

In a separate decision on June 15, 2018, the District Court also ruled in favour of Lilly in the case of Eli Lilly and Company v. Hospira, Inc. denying Hospira’s motion for summary judgment and granting Lilly’s cross-motion for summary judgment.

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Both Dr Reddy’s and Hospira had appealed the district court’s decisions, leading to today’s ruling.

In March 2014, the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana upheld the validity of the vitamin regimen patent. In August 2015, the same court ruled in Lilly’s favour regarding infringement of the vitamin regimen patent. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmed these rulings in a unanimous decision in January 2017, finding the patent is valid and would be infringed by the generic challengers’ proposed products.

Separately, Lilly announced on April 2019 that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the company’s favour regarding the patentability of the vitamin regimen for Alimta, upholding an October 2017 decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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