US biotech accuses Irish pharma of infringing patent protection

Genentech says Dublin-based Amgen’s cancer treatment drug is infringing its patent

A US biotechnology company claims an Irish rival is infringing its patent on a widely-used cancer treatment drug that sold more than $9 billion (€8 billion) worldwide in the three years up to 2017.

Genentech, which is headquartered in California and part of the Roche Group, says Amgen Incorporated and Amgen Technology (Ireland), with its registered office in Pottery Road, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, is infringing a protection certificate it enjoys on its patent for its product, Avastin. Amgen calls its biosimilar drug Mvasi.

Genentech is seeking an injunction from the High Court's commercial division over what it believes is Amgen's intention to stock and/or import its own product in Ireland for the purpose of supplying the US market.

It is also seeking a declaration that the use of its product infringes its patent, along with damages.



Genentech says it learned from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website that Amgen had been authorised by the FDA to carry out certain activities in Ireland in relation to Mvasi which if carried out would infringe its protection certificate.

Genetech says it will suffer enormous harm if the injunction against Amgen is not granted.

Avastain was first used in the treatment of metastatic colon/rectal cancer and is now also used for lung, ovarian and cervical cancer, among others.

It contains the biological compound Bevacizumab which creates an antibody to slow down the growth of cancer tumours by starving them of oxygen and nutrients. The antibodies invention was first registered in the United States in 1988 and is now patented in more than 40 countries, Genentech says.

The case was admitted to the Commercial Court list, on consent between the parties, by Mr Justice Robert Haughton on Monday.