Monday, February 04, 2008

Cipla holds firm in patent challenge [India]

In what could strengthen Cipla’s patent challenge against global major Gilead Science’s patent application for its key HIV drug, Viread, in India and also reduce the prices of its generic copies, the US Patent & Trademark office has rejected Viread patent application in the US.

A release by the US-based Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) said, “The US Patent & Trademark Office has rejected four key HIV/AIDS drug patents held by Gilead Sciences that relate to the drug known generically as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), a key weapon in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Gilead markets TDF in the US under the brand name Viread.”
In its application, PUBPAT had argued that Gilead’s drug was not a new invention and that the company had not disclosed this to the US patent office. However, Gilead can appeal against the decision.
In India, Gilead is facing pre-grant opposition from domestic major Cipla and patient groups fighting for access to HIV medicines. In a strategic move, the American company had entered into a technology transfer arrangement with 10 Indian pharma companies to allow them to manufacture the drug.

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