Bristol-Myers Sues Genentech Over ‘Cabilly’ Patents

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. sued Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit seeking a court order that it doesn’t infringe patents used to make treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The patents, known as “Cabilly” after one of the inventors, are invalid and aren't infringed by colon cancer and melanoma treatments New York-based Bristol-Myers sells in the U.S., the company’s attorneys claimed in a complaint filed May 3 in federal court in Oakland, California.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb brings this action to lift the cloud created by the imminent threat of defendant’s enforcement of the Cabilly patents against the plaintiffs,” according to the complaint. “Without declaratory relief the threat of enforcement of the Cabilly patents poses a substantial risk to the plaintiffs as well as to patients, nurses and doctors now using Erbitux and Yervoy.”

Erbitux, made by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co.’s ImClone unit, is approved in the U.S. to treat colon cancer and head and neck tumors and sold by Bristol-Myers in the U.S. Yervoy, a melanoma treatment, is manufactured and sold by Bristol-Myers in the U.S.

“We remain confident in the validity and enforceability of the Cabilly patents and we believe that the lawsuit is without merit,” Nadine Pinell, a Genentech spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Eli Lilly filed a similar lawsuit over the Cabilly patents in March.

The case is Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Genentech, 13-cv-02045, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland_

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net