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US appeals court revives Regeneron's antitrust lawsuit against Novartis

Published 03/18/2024, 10:19 AM
Updated 03/18/2024, 02:25 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., June 16, 2021.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder/FILE PHOTO

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A U.S. appeals court on Monday revived an antitrust lawsuit by Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) Pharmaceuticals against Novartis (SIX:NOVN) related to prescription treatments to address a condition that can lead to eye disorders including permanent blindness.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a lower court judge erred in dismissing the case, in part for having applied an improper legal standard to Regeneron's claims.

The lawsuit is related to Regeneron's drug Eylea and Novartis' rival drug Lucentis.

Regeneron in a statement said it was "encouraged by the 2nd Circuit’s decision" and looked forward to "further advancing our position in future proceedings."

Novartis in a statement said it was "disappointed with the court’s ruling, and we continue to believe Regeneron’s claims lack merit."

Tarrytown, New York-based Regeneron sued Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis in 2020. It claimed that Novartis schemed with co-defendant Vetter Pharma to delay Regeneron’s release of a version of its eye medication.

Novartis earlier had sued Regeneron for alleged patent infringement over the same eye treatments, which combat the overproduction of a protein that can cause eye disorders.

Regeneron on Monday said Novartis is "unlawfully asserting an invalid and unenforceable patent" in that case, which is ongoing.

According to court records, Regeneron and Vetter entered a collaboration deal in 2005 to produce a prefilled syringe version of Eylea, which was originally packaged in vials.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., June 16, 2021.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder/FILE PHOTO

Regeneron’s lawsuit alleged Vetter entered a similar arrangement with Novartis in 2009 to develop a prefilled syringe version of Lucentis, and that the companies schemed to restrict competition.

A federal judge in New York ruled in 2022 that Regeneron had not established the existence of a relevant product market for its antitrust claims. The appeals court on Monday disagreed and said Regeneron's case could proceed.

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