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Following all of the latest IP developments in life sciences.

 

Kite Flies Away With CAR-T Patent Challenge Win Based on Written Description Battle

In Juno Therapeutics v. Kite Pharma, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a $1.2 billion dollar judgment to Juno, finding that Juno’s asserted claims, which they alleged were infringed by Kite’s CAR-T therapy YESCARTA® (axicabtagene ciloleucel), lacked written description. The decision follows a line of cases involving antibodies and written description, extending recent antibody-related jurisprudence into the realm of cell-based immunotherapies, such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. The court determined that while the binding element of CARs (in this case, an scFv) and methods of making them were generally known in the art, the scope of the claimed CARs was too vast to be sufficiently supported by the limited number of exemplary binding elements in the specification, as well as the absence of common structural features defining the claimed genus. The decision means that those seeking claims that aim to broadly protect CARs with functional definitions will face significant challenges based on written description.

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Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Enablement in Amgen v. Sanofi: The Federal Circuit Provides Guidance on Enabling Antibody Claims

(Co-authored by Gabe McCool)

On February 11, 2021 the Federal Circuit upheld a United States District Court for the District of Delaware decision finding that Amgen’s function-only anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibody claims were not enabled under 35 U.S.C. § 112. This highly anticipated decision involved a suit between the makers of the LDL-cholesterol-lowering drugs, Repatha® (Amgen) and Praluent® (Sanofi/Regeneron), filed nearly seven years ago by Amgen. Amgen had argued that patents for its cholesterol drug, RepathaⓇ, which cover a genus of antibodies that bind to a protein known as PCSK9, were sufficiently specific to allow one “skilled in the art” to “make and use” the patented invention without “undue experimentation” under the Wands factors.

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Not a Fragment of the Imagination: Federal Circuit Decides in Favor of Antibody Patent Owner in Hemlibra® Dispute

Overview

On August 27, 2020, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s determination that Genentech’s Hemlibra® (emicizumab-kxwh) product for treating hemophilia did not infringe Baxalta’s US Patent No. 7,033,590 (the ‘590 patent) because it found the lower court had erred in its claim construction of “antibody” and “antibody fragment.”

Background and Issue Presented

Hemophilia is a rare blood clotting disorder characterized by an underlying malfunction in the coagulation cascade. A critical step in the cascade is the formation of a complex between activated factor IX (FIXa) and activated factor VIII (FVIIIa) which then goes on to activate factor X (FX). Hemophilia develops when this complex is unable to form, due in many cases to the development of self-antibodies that inhibit FVIIIa, thereby blocking the activation of FX. The disclosed and claimed invention in the ‘590 patent relates to antibodies against FIXa that take the place of FVIIIa and result in the activation of factor X by FIXa even in the absence of FVIIIa. Thus, rapid blood coagulation may be achieved in hemophiliacs with FVIIIa inhibitors by administering the claimed anti-FIXa antibodies.

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