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Amgen up after judge rules rivals must pull a competing cholesterol drug off the market

Friday, January 6, 2017 9:02
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Shares in Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) rose today after a US Federal judge ruled that two of the pharma firm’s rivals must pull a competing cholesterol drug off the market.

Late yesterday, District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware announced a ban on Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) and French firm Sanofi SA from selling their cholesterol drug, Praluent in the US on the grounds of patent infringement.

Amgen had sought a ban in an October 2014 lawsuit against the two firms claiming that Praluent, which lowers so-called “bad” cholesterol by blocking a protein known as PCSK9, infringed its patents related to that protein.

Blocking sales of Praluent, the judge said that “irreparable harm” had been done to Amgen’s own cholesterol-lowering treatment, Repatha.

In early New York trading today, Amgen shares jumped 3% higher to $157, while shares in Regeneron dropped over 6% to $356.

However, Judge Robinson ordered that the ban not take effect for 30 days to give Sanofi and Regeneron time to appeal, which they said they would do.

In a statement today, Sanofi’s executive vice president Karen Linehan said: “”It is our longstanding position that Amgen’s patent claims are invalid and that the best interests of patients will be greatly disserved by an injunction preventing access to Praluent.”

A jury found Amgen’s patents were valid in March.

Commentators said the companies could still decide to reach a settlement that would give Amgen royalties on Praluent sales.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Praluent and Repatha in 2015, and both are currently in final stage trials.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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