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UK charity sues UCB for patent breach

A UK charitable trust is taking Cimzia’s manufacturer UCB to court for promoting the drug in combination with methotrexate.

The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust filed the case against Belgian company UCB for infringing its 2001 patent on combining drugs like Cimzia with methotrexate.

The trust’s patent relates to treating arthritis by co-administering methotrexate and drugs that block receptors to an inflammation-causing protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNFa), such as Cimzia.

Amgen and Wyeth were sued by the trust for infringing the same patent with their arthritis drug Enbrel last year. The case was withdrawn, but the lawsuit for the current case claims that Amgen and Wyeth, as well as Abbott Laboratories and Centocor, have paid “tens of millions of dollars” to the trust in loyalties.

Cimzia is one of UCB’s three key hopes for growth after patents expire on some of its big-selling drugs. The company has said annual Cimzia sales could top €1.5 billion in the coming years.

The lawsuit, demanding royalties and damages from UCB, was filed earlier this month in US federal court in Delaware.

The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust (the KIR Trust) was founded in 1965/66 and was the first research institute dedicated to Rheumatology.

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