Bayer concedes on Humira, but plans appeal

Bayer has conceded in one battle over the rights to the blockbuster arthritis remedy Humira. But it hasn't given up on the war. In a court filing, the company allowed that Humira doesn't infringe its patent rights, at least not by the interpretation of a judge in its lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories. But, Bayer says, that concession is just a prelude to an appeal.

Bayer sued Abbott in 2008, alleging that the latter's drug Humira stepped on Bayer's patent rights. The company also attempted to collect royalties on U.S. sales of the drug. Bayer says it maintains a patent on antibodies against tumor necrosis factor, the protein targeted by several anti-inflammatory drugs like Humira.

As Bloomberg reports, U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor ruled in October that Bayer's patent only covered particular antibodies--and by that definition, Humira would be excluded. And that's the definition Bayer acknowledged in its recent filing. We'll have to see how that definition holds up in appeals court.

- read the Bloomberg story