Biogen Skinned by a Patent Troll

Pharma don't always get their way and when there is money to be made the vultures are out.

It is reported (click) that Biogen has agreed to pay $1.25 billion in cash to Forward Pharma a Copenhagen-based firm that has no approved products.

The legal battle centers on Biogen's multiple sclerosis treatment Tecfidera, which raked in $4 billion in 2016 sales.

Forward Pharma has been arguing that its patents on dimethyl fumarate (DMF), the active ingredient in Tecfidera, were filed before Biogen's and that the firm therefore has royalty rights to the drug. These are suits still going through the courts

Under the deal, Biogen would also pay Forward 10% royalties from Tecfidera sales between 2021 and 2028, and a 20% royalty thereafter (if Forward is able to secure the patents on its Tecfidera competitor). The deal would end once one of the drugs' patents lapse.

I am led to believe that the Danish person found an university patent and picked it up,  and had the financial clout to take on big pharma.

A few years ago someone came to me to ask if I would do some work on a compound in EAE, which is in phase II now, as they had picked up the patent rights via trawling the Japanese patent database. (If you don't have a translation and you don't read Japanese, stuff can get missed). So  maybe someone else will also get a shock in the future if the clinical development is successful. Sorry I can't tell you what it was.

Did you know that it costs over £10,000 to get a patent translated from English into Japanese....this patent stuff is a real cash cow mainly to lawyers who never lose out.

Patents are essential to developing treatments and without protection of a patent drugs don't get developed. This is one of the reasons why rituximab was dropped in favour of ocrelizumab


However this action is not victimless and whilst the fat cats get rich, you will pay for this. 

Has this anything to do with the 8% Price Hike of Biogen Drugs reported earlier this week (click)? 

This will give Biogen about an extra $400,000,000 (based on $4 billions sales) from the sale of tecfidera, then add the extra revenue from avonex, plegridy, natalizumab and the patent troll is being paid.