Genzyme Sues to Block Zimmer, Anika Treatments for Knee Pain

Genzyme Corp., the drugmaker bought by Sanofi-Aventis SA this month, sued Zimmer Holdings Inc. and Anika Therapeutics Inc. alleging the companies’ treatments for arthritic knee pain infringe a patent.

Genzyme is seeking to block sales of Anika’s Monovisc drug as well as a treatment made by Seikagaku Corp. and distributed by Zimmer called Gel-One, according to two patent-infringement lawsuits filed today in federal court in Boston. Genzyme, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is also seeking cash compensation.

Genzyme filed the lawsuits the same day it was issued the patent for a method of treating a knee joint with a single injection of hyaluronic acid, which the company markets as Synvisc-One, according to the complaint. Sales of Synvisc-One and of Synvisc, a three-injection drug, increased 20 percent to $393 million last year, Genzyme said in its annual report.

Synvisc-One was the only single-injection treatment approved by U.S. regulators until Gel-One was approved on March 22, according to the complaint against Warsaw, Indiana-based Zimmer. Tokyo-based Seikagaku was named in the Zimmer lawsuit.

Anika, based in Bedford, Massachusetts, sells Monovisc in Europe, Turkey and Canada, and is seeking approval to sell it in the U.S. Anika has “already begun advertising for field sales representatives,” Genzyme said in that complaint.

Garry Clark, a spokesman for Zimmer said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Previous Lawsuits

Genzyme sued Anika last year over two other patents and, in addition to today’s lawsuit, filed a request to add the new patent to the existing case. Anika said the two suits make the same basic allegations.

“Anika intends to continue to vigorously defend the lawsuits and the Monovisc product franchise,” the company said in a statement.

Paris-based Sanofi bought Genzyme, the world’s largest maker of medicines for rare genetic disorders, for at least $20.1 billion.

Anika dropped $1.03, or 10 percent, to $9.10 at 5:20 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Zimmer rose $1.35, or 2.2 percent, to $62.79 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Sanofi American depositary receipts, two of which represent one ordinary share, rose 52 cents to $38.89.

The cases are Genzyme Corp. v. Seikagaku Corp., 11cv10704, and Genzyme Corp. v. Anika Therapeutics Inc., 11cv10705, both U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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