Sanofi, Eisai join Lillys SCOTUS bid to save Cialis from overly broad patent claims

Eli Lilly has a message for the U.S. Supreme Court- We arent going to take a $20 million patent loss for Cialis sitting down. Now, Lilly can count on a couple of friends ready to join the fight—and it's a fight that the rest of pharma might want to watch. On Monday, Sanofi and Eisai Pharma threw their weight behind a lawsuit seeking to overturn a claim by Erfindergemeinschaft Uropep GBR (EUG) that ended Cialis’ patent protection in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a $20 million indication. Lilly called EUG’s original claim a “particularly egregious example of functional claiming,” in the suit (PDF). Both Sanofi and Eisai doubled down on Lilly’s “functional claim” argument, saying EUG’s claim effectively roped off any drug formulations used to treat BPH through an enzyme inhibitor, a category Cialis falls under. It's the sort of broad patent claim at issue in a variety of outstanding court cases, so it's no surprise other drugmakers want in. Lilly's lawsuit could have big implications for companies who've fallen prey to claims that rely on results rather than precise formulations. In fact, fighting "overly broad" patent claims is at the heart of Sanofi and Regeneron's fight to market PCSK9 inhibitor Praluent, which a California jury said in February infringed on Amgen's older patent for Repatha.

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