Patent protection for drugs is an essential part of the pharma
and biotech sector. Companies seek strong patent protection so as
to prevent the entry of generic competition for their drugs.
Innovator companies often spend 10−15 years to develop a drug
and bring it to market. With a lot of R&D dollars invested in
the development of these drugs, innovator companies look to gain
exclusivity so that they can recover their investment in product
Late last week,
Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc.
) announced that it filed three patent infringement lawsuits
Gilead Sciences Inc.
) in France, Germany and the U.K.
According to Idenix, Gilead infringes Idenix's
recently-granted, co-owned European patent EP 1 523 489 covering
2'-methyl-2'-fluoro nucleosides for the treatment of hepatitis C
virus (HCV). Idenix believes that Gilead's HCV drug, Sovaldi
(sofosbuvir) infringes the European patent.
This is not the first Sovaldi-related patent infringement lawsuit
to be filed by Idenix. Late last year, Idenix had filed two
separate lawsuits in the U.S. Sovaldi is an important new entrant
in the HCV market and has blockbuster potential.
Meanwhile, Idenix is working towards strengthening its
pipeline. Idenix and partner Janssen are conducting a 12-week
phase II study (HELIX-2) on samatasvir, simeprevir and
TMC647055/r (with and without ribavirin) to evaluate their effect
on genotype 1 HCV patients (previously untreated as well as
previously treated with interferon and ribavirin). Data from the
HELIX-2 should be out in the second half of 2014.
We expect investor focus to remain on pipeline updates from
Idenix currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some
better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
). Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Gilead also
carries a Zacks Rank #1.
ALKERMES INC (ALKS): Free Stock Analysis
ALEXION PHARMA (ALXN): Free Stock Analysis
GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis
IDENIX PHARMA (IDIX): Free Stock Analysis
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