GSK files suit against Roche over claims that Herceptin infringes patents

Affected patents issued in 2008 and 2010 and cover antibody purification

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WILMINGTON, Del.—A U.S. unit of U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline has filed suit against Swiss company Roche Holding AG with claims that the latter is infringing a patent when it produces its cancer drug Herceptin. In response, a Roche business unit has filed suit against GSK

The GSK case, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, claims the Roche and Genentech, one of its business units, are infringing "antibody purification" elements for which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patents in 2008 and 2010 when they manufacture Herceptin.

The complain says that Roche and Genetic infringe the patent by "making and/or having made therapeutic antibody products, including without limitation Herceptin" and adds that "GSK has been damaged by defendants' infringement."

Genentech declined comment one the matter overall, but a Genentech spokesperson did admit they were aware of the lawsuit, and that Genentech has filed its own lawsuit, against GSK, in the Northern District of California in San Franciso, seeking a judge's ruling that it had not infringed those two patents.

Roche, the world's largest producer of cancer therapies, last year acquired the 44 percent of South San Francisco, Calif.-based Genentech that it didn't already own. According to data from Bloomberg, the companies derived almost $5.2 billion from U.S. sales of Herceptin last year.

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