In Emgality patent case against Teva, Lilly wins reversal of $177M verdict

A Massachusetts federal judge has sided with Eli Lilly in a patent spat, overturning a $176.5 million jury verdict from November of last year.

The verdict had been awarded to Teva in a patent infringement dispute over the companies’ competing migraine drugs.

The drugs, approved by the FDA 13 days apart in September of 2018, have a similar mechanism of action, inhibiting the calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRPs) that cause migraine headaches.

In the new order (PDF), Judge Allison Burroughs agreed with Lilly’s contention that Emgality’s antibody differed from Ajovy’s rival antibody and that Teva overstepped by trying to patent an entire class of drugs.

“Even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, asserted claims are broad,” Burroughs wrote in the ruling.

The decision came as a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeal board also sided with Lilly, invalidating two of the Teva patents.

The case has been in court since 2018 when Teva claimed that Lilly infringed nine of its patents with the development of its migraine treatment Emgality. Teva filed two lawsuits to block Emgality from entering the market.

In November 2022, Teva prevailed in one case when a Boston federal jury slapped Eli Lilly with a $176.5 million verdict for infringing three patents. Now, that verdict is being thrown out.

Since the two drugs entered the market, Emgality has had more success.

Last year, Emgality generated $651 million in revenue compared to $342 million for Ajovy.

Both treatments were originally approved for preventing migraines. In 2019, Lilly expanded Emgality’s reach with an FDA approval to treat episodic cluster headaches.

Amgen’s CGRP migraine drug Aimovig also entered the market in 2018 and registered sales of $414 million last year.

All of the injected treatments are threatened by new oral migraine treatments—Pfizer’s Nurtec, which realized sales of $414 million in the first half of this year, and AbbVie’s duo of Qulipta and Ubrelvy, which racked up sales of $505 million in the first two quarters.