The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided Sandoz Inc., v. Amgen Inc., on Monday June 12, 2017, construing the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA). The Court held: (1) that the patent dance is not enforceable by injunction under Federal law, and (2) that a biosimilar applicant’s 180-day “notice of commercial marketing” can be provided before FDA approval. (See Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., Nos. 15-1039 and 15-1195, slip op. and our IP Alert Sandoz v. Amgen—Biosimilars at the Supreme Court—Oral Argument.)
All nine U.S. Supreme Court justices heard argument on Wednesday April 26th, in Sandoz Inc., v. Amgen Inc. The Supreme Court is reviewing interpretations of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Wednesday’s arguments focused on four main issues:
- whether the FDA could preliminarily grant licensure prior to the expiration of the 12 year statutory period;
- whether the notice of commercial marketing requires official licensure to be made;
- whether the “patent dance” was required by the BPCIA; and
- whether state law could be used to enforce compliance with the “patent dance” elements of the BPCIA.
Industry watchers hope that the Supreme Court will streamline the process for getting biosimilars to market by providing increased certainty.
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On August 17, 2016, in Janssen Biotech, Inc. v. Celltrion Healthcare Co., District of Massachusetts Judge Mark Wolf faced a double patenting fact pattern that had not been adjudicated in a district court case since the Federal Circuit decided Gilead Sciences Inc. v. Natco Pharma Ltd.  Judge Wolf held U.S. Patent No. 6,284,471 (the “’471 patent”) invalid for obviousness-type double patenting over U.S. Patent No. 6,790,444 (the “’444 patent”) because the ’471 patent expired later due to the changes to patent terms under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), even though both patents claim priority to the same application and the ’471 patent issued years before the ’444 patent. 
Biosimilar applicants and branded biologics have been wondering how the procedures set forth in the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”) will be implemented since its enactment in 2010. The lack of guidance on this subject has already sparked litigation, including the recent litigation between Amgen Inc. (“Amgen”) and Sandoz Inc. (“Sandoz”) discussed in our previous client alert, Left without a Partner: Amgen Sues Sandoz for Refusing to Dance in Accordance with BPCIA Patent Procedures. However, Amgen and Sandoz are not the only parties that have brought disputes involving the BPCIA to the courts for resolution.
To read the full alert, click here.
On 24 July 2014, over four years after the enactment of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, the FDA accepted its first biosimilar application from Sandoz Inc. (Sandoz). Sandoz’s application is for a biosimilar version of Amgen Inc.’s (Amgen) Neupogen® (filgrastim). Neupogen® is a pharmaceutical analog of human granulocyte colony stimulating factor that is used to treat neutropenia, a condition where the body does not make enough neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. Amgen’s Neuprogen® is indicated for use by patients receiving strong chemotherapy to reduce their risk of infection. Read More
A recent United States statute establishes an expedited pathway for FDA approval of biosimilars (also known as follow-on biologics) – the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), part of the Affordable Care Act. A biologic is a drug derived from a living organism or living cells and is best exemplified by Humira®, the branded antibody for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Simply put, a biosimilar is a molecule that copies a branded biologic and is for all practical purposes highly identical to the branded biologic in structure and function. Read More