Bristol-Myers Squibb Sues AstraZeneca For Infringement of Cancer Treatment

Plaintiffs Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C. filed suit on Thursday in the District of Delaware against defendants AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and AstraZeneca UK LTD (collectively, AstraZeneca) over allegations that the defendants infringed upon the plaintiffs’ patents when they began marketing their cancer treatment product durvalumab under the brand name IMFINZI.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are inventors of “methods for treating cancer and methods for enhancing immune responses by administering antibodies that bind to PD-L1.” The antibodies invented by the plaintiffs are known as anti-PD-L1 antibodies, and they kick start a cancer-infected immune system by enabling cells to recognize, attack, and destroy cancer cells. Essentially, the anti-PD-L1 antibodies enhance the response of the immune system.

The developed treatment, which the plaintiffs named nivolumab and is under the brand name OPDIVO, was approved in countries across the world in late 2014 for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Since then, the relative success has led the plaintiffs to develop variations of nivolumab that are used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, urothelial carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, head and neck cancer, lymphoma, and more.

The plaintiffs sued AstraZeneca over allegations that the defendants are infringing on Bristol-Myers Squibb and E.R. Squibb’s property rights and exploiting their inventions through the marketing of durvalumab. Durvalumab is identified in the complaint as a “later-developed anti-PD-L1 antibody product,” which is also “used in methods for treating cancer and for enhancing the immune response.”

The plaintiffs hold eight patents associated with their anti-PD-L1 antibody products, asserting the patents all contain valid claims which AstraZeneca has deliberately infringed upon. Since the defendants are direct competitors of the plaintiffs’ in the field of immunotherapy, they have suffered and will continue to suffer substantial damages and lost profit due to the alleged infringement of AstraZeneca.

The complaint cites eight separate counts of infringement against AstraZeneca. The plaintiffs are seeking favorable judgment on each count of infringement, sufficient damages to compensate for the aforementioned infringement, an injunction preventing the defendants from further infringement of the patents, and any other relief deemed proper by the court.

The plaintiffs are represented by Farnan LLP.