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Ariad asks court to restore patent-suit win against Lilly

December 8, 2009

A  federal appeals court will decide whether Eli Lilly and Co. must pay $65.2 million in damages, plus royalties, over a drug-patent claim from Ariad Pharmaceuticals, according to Bloomberg News.

In 2006, a Boston jury found that two Lilly drugs—osteoporosis drug Evista and the sepsis medicine Xigris—relied on a technique licensed to Ariad, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass. The jury awarded Ariad $65.2 million and said that Lilly should pay royalties of 2.3 percent of sales of the two drugs.

However, that decision was appealed and last April was nullified by a three-judge panel, which issued a ruling that invalidated parts of Ariad's patent. The panel said that Ariad failed to adequately describe the invention or explain how others could replicate its work.

"The description is clear and concise," John Whelan, an attorney for Ariad, told the federal appeals court on Monday.

Evista generated $1.08 billion in global sales last year for Indianapolis-based Lilly, according to Bloomberg News. The company doesn’t break out sales of Xigris.

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