Patent Claim Denied on Rheumatoid Arthritis Biosimilar

A patent for a rheumatoid arthritis drug was ruled invalid, but Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the decision.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is the latest pharmaceutical manufacturer to use patent-infringement lawsuits to delay the entrance of biosimilars into the market.

Infliximab (Remicade) costs approximately $1300 to $2500 per dose, and can treat symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. The biosimilar version of the drug was created by Hospira Healthcare Corp, which is owned by Pfizer and Celltrion Healthcare Co.

Cellitron is currently marketing the biosimilar in Europe and Canada. The company said in a press release that the drug has been driving the company’s revenue growth. A judge recently ruled that the biosimilar does not infringe on any patents Johnson & Johnson has for Remicade.

The District of Massachusetts Federal Court stated that the company’s patent (US Patent No. 6,284,471) for Remicade is invalid, thus also invalidating the lawsuit. However, the company plans to file an appeal relating to the patent.

J&J said in a press release that they plan to defend their intellectual property rights.

“A commercial launch of an infliximab biosimilar prior to the outcome of the appeals would be considered an at-risk launch,” the company wrote.

It is clear that J&J will follow the tactics of other manufacturers to prevent a cheaper biosimilar version of their top earning drug, which brought in $6.6 billion worldwide last year, from launching.