Amgen Bests Regeneron in Patent Fight Over Cholesterol Drugs

Amgen Inc. won a legal victory over Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. in an intellectual property battle over their cholesterol-reducing drugs. Regeneron said it would appeal the decision.

A federal jury in Wilmington, Delaware, rejected Regeneron’s challenges and ruled in Amgen’s favor that two of its patents on its drug, Repatha, were valid, according to a statement Wednesday from Regeneron and its partner Sanofi. Amgen rose less than 1 percent to $143.97 at 3:32 p.m. in New York. Regeneron rose less than 1 percent to $369.04.

Sanofi and Regeneron said after the verdict that they plan to appeal, reiterating their position that Amgen’s patent claims are invalid. They had claimed that Amgen hasn’t fulfilled requirements to describe clearly what it had invented in a way that others could understand.

“Next steps on damages are to be determined,” the companies said in the statement. “The judge will hold a hearing to consider a permanent injunction in the near future.”

Amgen Chief Executive Officer Robert Bradway said Wednesday in a statement that the company is “thankful that the jury weighed the evidence carefully and recognized the validity of Amgen’s patents on Repatha.”

Repatha and Regeneron’s Praluent are used to inhibit a protein known as PCSK9 and help patients with high levels of bad cholesterol. Both drugs were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015, and the companies have been battling to secure exclusive deals with health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

Royalty Payments

With the decision, Regeneron and Sanofi are liable for royalties, according to Biren Amin, an analyst with Jefferies. The companies may reach a settlement with Amgen, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee, in a note to clients.

“This increases the likelihood of a settlement, where Sanofi/Regeneron may owe a 5-10 percent royalty to Amgen,” said Yee, who has an outperform rating on Amgen. “However, today’s ruling is only a first step.”

The case is Amgen Inc. v. Sanofi Inc., 14-1317, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.