|Biosimilars battle: keeping Carr J busy|
The dispute concerns the antibody adalimumab, marketed by AbbVie under the trade mark Humira. Humira is the highest selling prescription drug in the worl by global sales, with net sales in 2014 in excess of $12.5 billion. Humira is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. The dosage regimes for those indications include the administration of 40mg of adalimumab every other week as a single dose via subcutaneous injection. AbbVie has obtained or applied for a number of patents and divisionals for adalimumab which claim the use of this dosage regime.
|Sharp-eyed IP Kitten|
FKB and SB alleged that AbbVie's actions set out at 1-3 above are consistent with its well-established strategy of dragging out proceedings for as long as possible, causing maximum expense and inconvenience to its opponents, and then throwing in the towel just before its patents are scrutinised by the court, whilst covering the same subject matter with further divisionals. The Claimants referred to AbbVie's previous activities at the EPO to support this contention, and also relied upon statements made by AbbVie's CEO where he expressed an intention to seek injunctive relief to prevent 'at-risk' launches of products which are biosimilar to Humira. Carr J. considered that there is at least a good arguable case that the trial judge will accept that AbbVie's actions are part of the strategy outlined above.
In its summary judgment application, AbbVie argued that there was no real prospect of the Court at trial exercising its discretion to grant the declarations sought in light of the changed factual circumstances. In essence, the Claimants have achieved the nullity and commercial purpose of the Arrow declarations sought in the proceedings in that they would have freedom to operate in the UK after October 2018. Further, AbbVie submitted that the English Court should not act as an advisory body for other Courts around Europe, which would be a disproportionate use of Court resources.