Lilly claims patent win at Japan IP High Court

Eli Lilly and Company said the Japan IP High Court confirmed the decisions of the Japan Patent Office and ruled in Lilly’s favor in the invalidation trials initiated by Sawai regarding Lilly’s vitamin regimen patents for its top-selling lung cancer drug Alimta.

Lilly said that in the fourth quarter of 2015, the Japan Patent Office issued written decisions upholding the validity of the Alimta vitamin regimen patents.

It said if the patents were ultimately upheld through all challenges, they could provide intellectual property protection for Alimta in Japan until June 2021.

According to Reuters, Alimta — chemical name pemetrexed — is Lilly’s top-selling oncology drug, accounting for sales of $1.74 billion in the first nine months of 2016, and for 11% of the Indianapolis-based drug company’s total revenue.

“We are pleased with the decision from the Japan IP High Court confirming the validity of the Alimta vitamin regimen patents,” said Michael Harrington, general counsel for Lilly.

“Lilly’s significant scientific research in support of the Alimta vitamin regimen deserves intellectual property protection …

“We continue to emphasize that protection of intellectual property rights is extremely important to the biopharmaceutical industry and to the patients we serve.

“These rights provide assurances of market exclusivity that help support the development of the next generation of innovative medicines to treat unmet medical needs.”