Judge blocks Roche's Mircera--for now


Victory for Amgen--and maybe for Roche, too. The California drug maker persuaded a judge to temporarily ban Roche's competing anemia drug Mircera in the U.S. But the judge also said he'd consider letting Roche sell the med under certain conditions.
You'll recall that Roche got approval late last year for the anemia fighter, which would compete with Amgen's Epogen and Aranesp and Johnson & Johnson's Procrit. But Roche was enjoined from launching the drug because of patent-infringement questions. Later, Roche offered Amgen 20 percent royalties on Mircera, but Amgen rejected the figure.

Apparently the judge agreed that 20 percent was too low: He suggested 22.5 percent. And he said that Roche would have to agree to set prices no higher than those for existing anemia drugs. Predictably, both sides balked. Amgen said making a deal would amount to "rewarding theft of intellectual property." And Roche said its original offer was "fair and aggressive;" it may appeal the ruling. In any case, the judge gave Roche three months to think over his offer.
- check out the coverage in Business Week

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