MedImmune, a subsidiary of global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has lost the patent rights to a biotechnology screening technique used in drugs such as Roche’s eye treatment drug Lucentis (ranibizumab).
Novartis, Roche’s European marketing partner, sued MedImmune in April in a bid to revoke an extension on patent protection for a manufacturing process known as ‘phage display’.
The High Court in London, UK, ruled that MedImmune’s two patents were invalid, meaning that Roche and Novartis can now free manufacture the drug without paying royalties to MedImmune, reports the Financial Times.
A judgment in favour of MedImmune would have dealt a blow to Lucentis, which last year generated sales of $1.53 billion for Switzerland-based Novartis.
AstraZeneca has said it will appeal for the patents, which it sees as valid.