Pfizer just won a $2.15 billion settlement after a nearly 10-year battle with Teva Pharmaceuticals and Sun Pharmaceutical for patent-infringement damages resulting from their “at-risk” launches of generic Protonix® (an acid reflux drug) in the U.S. Pfizer and Takeda (which acquired Protonix developer Nycomed in 2011) will divide the proceeds of the settlement, with the former receiving 64%.
Teva and Sun will pay a total of $2.15 billion to compensate Pfizer’s subsidiary Wyeth (to which Protonix was licensed) and Takeda for the damages they suffered when Teva and Sun launched “at-risk” generic versions of Protonix prior to the January 2011 expiry of the patent for pantoprazole, the active ingredient in Protonix. These “at-risk” launches were determined by a jury in New Jersey federal court to violate U.S. Patent No. 4,758,579, which is owned by Takeda and was licensed exclusively to Wyeth in the U.S.
Teva will pay Pfizer and Takeda $1.6 billion and Sun will pay $550 million. As part of the settlement, both Teva and Sun have admitted that their sales of generic pantoprazole infringed the patent that was held valid by the court.
“We are pleased with today’s settlement, which recognizes the validity and value of the innovation that led to Protonix,” said Amy W. Schulman, evp and general counsel of Pfizer. “Protecting intellectual property is vital as we develop new medicines that save and enhance patients’ lives.”