Novo, Baxter spar over hemophilia patent amid ITC probe

Baxter ($BAX) said back in March that Novo Nordisk's ($NVO) recently launched hemophilia med infringed some of its patents, which this week spurred an investigation from the U.S. International Trade Commission. But the Danish drugmaker doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

On Wednesday, Novo shot down Baxter's claims that its Novoeight used substances the Illinois company developed, Reuters reports, and it told the news service it had asked a district court in New Jersey to step in and settle the tussle. The pharma filed a complaint there in March, accusing Baxter of making "baseless allegations."

Baxter, for its part, has already asked the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders, which would remove Novoeight from the market, the news service notes. The committee began its probe on Monday.

If the ITC does have the drug pulled, it would be a blow for Novo, which is looking to Novoeight to play a key role as it grows its hemophilia business. Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft Hansen told Reuters he sees the product hitting peak sales of between 3 billion and 4 billion Danish crowns ($447 million to $596 million) per year within the next 8 to 10 years--a tally that would strengthen the drugmaker's hemophilia presence alongside its flagship diabetes franchise.

Success in the space is also critical for Baxter, for which hemophilia revenues make up a large chunk of its biopharma haul. As they company prepares to spin that unit off into Baxalta, it'll be depending on its hemophilia treatments to keep the new company afloat. Earlier this week, Baxter pegged sales growth for Baxalta at 6% to 8% going forward, with hematology and immunology products helping it get there.

That'll involve stymieing more competition than just Novoeight. Biogen ($BIIB), for one, recently released two long-acting treatments for the malady and priced them on par with Novo's, a move meant to encourage patient-switching.

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