Gilead ordered to pay $200 million in Sovaldi patent case

A US court has ruled Gilead must pay $200 million in damages to Merck & Co and Ionis Pharmaceuticals, for infringing upon a patent relating to development of medicines including its big-selling drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni for hepatitis C.

Last week’s jury verdict in the US District Court Northern District of California ruled Gilead had infringed patents held by Merck and Ionis relating to patents for compounts and methods used to develop sofosbuvir-based medicines for treatment of hepatitis C, including Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (sofosbuvir+ledipasvir).

Merck, which markets a rival hepatitis C combination drug, Zepatier (elbasvir+grazoprevir), said that the jury awarded compensation for damages to 31 Dec, 2015,

It added that the court will hold a separate proceeding on royalties owed by Gilead for infringing product sold since 1 Jan. Gilead said it planned to appeal against the decision.

Analysts have said that the award fell short of expectations. Leering Partners analyst Geoffrey Porges noted that the jury had deducted Gilead’s R&D costs of about $7 billion, and $11 billion for the acquisition of Pharmasset, from total Sovaldi and Harvoni sales of around $23 billion when calculating damages.

The damages were based on a figure of around 4% of sales, rather than the 10% requested by Merck, analysts noted.

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