In Daiichi case, court upholds jury's $177.8M infringement ruling against Novartis

In a long-running patent case against pharma giant Novartis, Daiichi Sankyo has secured a key win in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

After reviewing a jury decision from last year, the court has upheld the infringement verdict against Novartis. In doing so, the court found the Swiss drugmaker liable for patent infringement and ordered the drugmaker to shell out $177.8 million and pay a 9% royalty on its melanoma therapy Tafinlar until certain Daiichi patents expire later this decade.

Still, the court reversed the jury’s original finding of willful infringement on Novartis’ part. That portion of the verdict would have increased Novartis’ payments up to threefold.

In a statement, Novartis said it's "considering further options, including appeal to the decision to the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit, but otherwise cannot comment on ongoing litigation."

Daiichi's former subisdiary Plexxikon filed its patent lawsuit in 2017. The case centered on Plexxikon’s melanoma treatment Zelboraf and GSK's melanoma therapy Tafinlar, which GSK traded to Novartis as part of their massive asset swap in 2015.

In the suit, Plexxikon argued that GSK scientists acquired the knowledge needed to develop Tafinlar only after consulting with Plexxikon in potential partnership talks that never materialized. 

Eventually, Tafinlar overtook Zelboraf in the market, generating sales of $672 million in 2016 compared with Zelboraf’s $218 million.

Daiichi Sankyo shut down Plexxikon earlier this year, more than 10 years after it bought the biotech in a $935 million deal.