Coherus breached Humira patent settlement by striking deal with Mark Cuban's drug firm, AbbVie contends

An announcement early this month by Mark Cuban’s deep discount drug company that it would sell Coherus Biosciences’ biosimilar version of AbbVie’s Humira has the Illinois drugmaker calling foul.

In a regulatory filing, AbbVie claims that Coherus has violated a licensing agreement, which governs the commercializing of the biosimilar.

The dispute was triggered two weeks ago when Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. announced it planned to sell the Coherus biosimilar—branded as Yusimry and set to launch July 1—for $569.27 for a carton of two autoinjectors.

The price represents an 85% discount from the $6,922 AbbVie charges monthly for the megablockbuster, which treats a wide variety of autoimmune conditions. It’s also a discount on the $995 price Coherus plans to charge.

On June 6, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, AbbVie sent a letter to Coherus, alleging that the Delaware-based company breached its settlement and licensing agreement. Five days later, Coherus sent a letter to AbbVie, denying the allegation and requesting more information.

In its SEC filing, Coherus said that—to keep its planned launch on schedule—it filed for a temporary restraining order in a Delaware court on Tuesday of this week. AbbVie responded immediately with a request for a preliminary injunction.

On Wednesday, AbbVie agreed that it will not terminate the licensing agreement "unless it first serves a new notice of breach and affords the Company an opportunity to cure any alleged breach," Coherus wrote in the filing.

AbbVie raked in sales of $21.2 billion last year for Humira. The company already faces biosimilar competition in Europe for Humira. In the U.S., AbbVie has made agreements with several makers of biosimilars to delay and restrict sales of the copycats until this year.

Amgen launched the first Humira biosimilar five months ago. Others are soon to follow, including Boehringer Ingelheim, which is the only company to gain “interchangeable” status for its Humira knockoff, Cyltezo Pen, also set to hit the market July 1.

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