Zimmer Wins Genzyme Trial Over Knee-Arthritis Treatment

Zimmer Holdings Inc. (ZMH) and Seikagaku Corp. (4548) won a U.S. patent-infringement trial brought by Sanofi’s (SAN) Genzyme over a treatment for arthritis in the knee.

A federal jury in Boston said Aug. 3 the Gel-One product made by Tokyo-based Seikagaku and distributed by Zimmer doesn’t infringe a Genzyme patent for a method to treat arthritic pain in the knee. The jury also said that the patent is invalid because it covered obvious variations of earlier work.

Genzyme’s Synvisc-One product was the only single-injection treatment approved by U.S. regulators until Gel-One was given clearance in March 2011, according to the complaint filed a month after the approval was granted. The injection of a hyaluronic acid gel provides pain relief for as long as six months, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Genzyme said.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock on Dec. 30 issued an order preventing Warsaw, Indiana-based Zimmer from selling Gel- One at a price less than $547.60 per injection or giving out free samples, so it didn’t undercut the price of Synvisc-One. The judge vacated that order following the jury verdict.

Synvisc and Gel-One use different compositions of the hyaluronic acid, and the patent covers a way of providing the treatment through a single injection rather than multiple injections over a period of time, said Sarah Columbia of McDermott Will & Emery in Boston, who represented Zimmer and Seikagaku.

Synvisc and Synvisc-One generated 184 million euros ($228 million) in the first half of the year for Sanofi. Sales were up 8.9 percent over the year-earlier period, the Paris-based company said July 26. Zimmer doesn’t break out sales of Gel-One.

Zimmer rose 76 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $59.78 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Sanofi American depositary receipts, two of which represent one ordinary share, rose 5 cents to $41.61.

The case is Genzyme Corp. v. Seikagaku Corp., 11cv10636, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.