Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently suffered a setback when the US Patent and Trademark
Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (USPTO) issued a verdict
against it in the first phase of its patent dispute with
Gilead Sciences Inc.
). The USPTO ruled that Gilead filed its application requesting a
patent pertaining to hepatitis C virus therapies before Idenix
Pharma. The news impacted Idenix Pharma's shares negatively.
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The USPTO ruling made Idenix Pharma the junior party and Gilead
the senior party in the ongoing HCV patent related dispute. The
second phase of the case is expected to begin in the second
quarter of this year. In this determining phase of the HCV patent
dispute, it would be decided which of the two companies was the
first to invent. The company winning the second phase will clinch
The silver lining for Idenix Pharma is that the junior party
status assigned to it by the USPTO in the first phase will not
determine the winner of the second phase and the entire case.
Idenix Pharma stated in its press release that it does not expect
the adverse USPTO ruling in the first phase of its HCV patent
related dispute with Gilead to affect its pipeline development
We note that the HCV market is highly lucrative. A sizeable
population suffers from HCV the world over. However, the treated
population is much lower. This leaves the field open for new
treatments. Moreover, the current standard of care comes with
several side effects, which make it difficult for patients to
continue the treatment. Apart from Gilead and Idenix Pharma
companies such as
Johnson & Johnson
) are also developing therapies to treat HCV.
Idenix Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) in the short run.
Gilead looks more attractive carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
) carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) in the pharma