[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s Samyang Biopharmaceuticals said on Jan. 3 that it has won a patent infringement case against Switzerland-based Helsinn Healthcare regarding the latter’s blockbuster chemotherapy treatment Aloxi.
The Seoul Central District Court invalidated Helsinn Healthcare’s patents for its anti-nausea treatment Aloxi, allowing Samyang Biopharmaceuticals to continue sell its generic version of Aloxi in Korea.
The ruling came about a year after the Swiss drug maker and its marketing partner for Korea CJ Healthcare had filed the suit in November 2016.
Aloxi, which is used to prevent nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, generates about 25 billion won (US$23.47 million) in sales here. CJ Healthcare has been selling the drug since 2007 under an exclusive marketing deal with Helsinn Healthcare.
In a bid to avoid patent infringement, Samyang Biopharmaceuticals said it had developed technology to secure its copy version’s stability without using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, a compound used for Aloxi. The company launched its generic version in the domestic market in May last year via its distribution partner Boryung Pharmaceutical.
“We have developed a product that is stable without the antioxidant (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) covered by the existing patent by detecting the root cause of the deteriorating stability of the drug to delete the stereotype the antioxidant should be used to secure stability,” a Samyang Biopharmaceuticals official said.
Helsinn Healthcare has been fighting its battle in court against other global pharma firms, including Israel-based Teva and India’s Dr. Reddy‘s Laboratories to block their generics of Aloxi from entering markets. As the drug brings in some 90 percent of the company‘s revenue.
According to data from IMS Health, Aloxi’s worldwide sales in 2014 were around US$649 million. The product is marketed and available in over 65 countries worldwide under the brand names of Aloxi, Onicit and Paloxi.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)