Gilead hits back at Bristol Myers' Supreme Court petition in CAR-T patent feud

More shots have been fired in the patent proxy war between CAR-T giants Gilead Sciences and Bristol Myers Squibb as Gilead moved to parry a recent BMS petition to the U.S.' high court.

Wednesday, Gilead’s Kite Pharma argued the June petition from Bristol’s Juno Therapeutics should be tossed because it flies in the face of more than half a century of legal standards.

Specifically, Kite claimed the petition challenges “over 50 years of precedent” regarding the law that a patent must provide a “written description of the invention,” the Gilead unit said in a court filing.

Gilead argued Juno’s petition offers “no sound justification for this Court to intervene now." Gilead further contends that the BMS cell therapy unit sought an “extremely broad” patent monopoly.

The feud between Juno and Kite dates back to 2017, when Juno sued and alleged Kite “copied and is now commercializing” CAR-T technology invented and patented by scientists at Sloan Kettering. Juno exclusively licensed the so-called ‘190 patent from Sloan Kettering and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in November 2013, according to the companies’ lawsuit.

BMS and MSK won in a 2019 jury trail, picking up a $752 million verdict, which a judge later expanded to $1.2 billion after determining Kite’s infringement had been “willful.”

But an appeals court overturned that $1.2 billion verdict against Gilead in August 2021, contending the CAR-T invention at issue was not supported by an adequate written description.

Not content to play sitting duck, Juno earlier this summer petitioned the Supreme Court to take another look at the case, arguing the patent stance adopted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had been “devastating for innovation.”

By requiring inventors to possess the “full scope” of their invention during the patenting process, the appeals court had presented them with an “impossible” test, the petitioners argued in June.

In its new counterargument, Gilead went on to claim that the appeals court "invalidated Juno’s claims because they tried to monopolize—and block everyone else from investigating—millions of billions of possible drug candidates at the infancy of a field without teaching the public which candidates perform the claimed function.”

It still remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will pick up the case. Currently, Gilead isn’t on the hook for the large infringement verdict.

BMS acquired Juno for $9 billion in 2018, while Gilead purchased Kite for $11.9 billion in 2017.