TKT: Victory At Last
The recent UK appeals court decision that TKT does not infringe Amgen's erythropoeitin patent doesn't mean much commercially for either group. But it could pave the way for stricter interpretation of biotech patents in the UK and the rest of Europe.
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Dramatic events in the EPO market--roiled by patent fights, biosimilars, and next-generation products--are important not merely to the current EPO players. They affect nearly all large-molecule companies.
Amgen was the winner of a late January decision involving its patent dispute with Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. over erythropoietin. Its stock rose about 15% in the three days after the ruling, while TKT's shares slid 40% that week. The judge ruled that TKT's process doesn't infringe Amgen's patent, but the product that TKT makes using that process does. The decision is on appeal. TKT argues that its method is a next-generation protein production technology, but if the decision stands, the company will have to take its first shot at something other than EPO.
Amgen's patent infringement lawsuit against Transkaryotic Therapies is probably the most important of its kind, and not merely because the product Amgen is trying to protect, erythropoietin, is the company's--and the biotech industry's--biggest revenue generator. This lawsuit, although not yet decided, already offers some valuable lessons both in developing a patent portfolio and defending a patented product.