Bristol Myers Squibb and Gilead Sciences have been locked in a CAR-T patent fight, with BMS scoring a lucrative victory following a trial late last year. Now, Gilead has failed to persuade a judge to overturn the $752 million verdict—and the company could face bigger damages down the line.
In an order unsealed earlier this week, Judge James Otero rejected numerous arguments from Gilead’s Kite Pharma unit that patents held by BMS’ Juno Therapeutics are invalid, plus that procedural flaws in the legal process warrant a new trial.
Kite’s “current arguments largely mirror its previous arguments,” the judge wrote in the March 24 order. The court rejected Kite’s arguments for a new trial on grounds of unfair time limits, prejudice, and more.
In its own post-trial motion, Juno Therapeutics petitioned for a larger verdict of $1.5 billion. In the motion, Juno said Kite’s “egregious, willful infringement warrants a punitive award in the same amount as the compensatory award." The company also cited concerns about Kite’s legal strategy as reasons to expand the award.
As for the Tuesday decision, BMS is "pleased that the court has denied Kite's ... attempt to overturn the jury’s verdict that confirmed the validity of the ’190 patent and found that Kite willfully infringed the patent," a representative said. A spokesman for Kite didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The order comes after the December jury verdict in favor of Juno in the amount of $752 million. Juno originally sued in 2017, arguing Kite “copied and is now commercializing" CAR-T technology invented and patented by scientists at Sloan Kettering. Juno exclusively licensed the '190 patent from Sloan Kettering and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in November 2013, the lawsuit said.
The drugmaker argues that Kite scientific collaborators lifted the work that led to the development of Yescarta, the centerpiece in a $12 billion buyout by Gilead Sciences. Yescarta generated $456 million last year, and those sales were part of the court’s damages calculation.