June 30, 2009

Abbott ordered to pay $1.7B patent claim

The U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, ordered Abbott Laboratories to pay Johnson & Johnson $1.7 billion in patent-related damages.

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson said Abbott's rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, one of the top-selling drugs in the world, was made using technology developed exclusively for Johnson & Johnson at New York University.

Humira earned more than $4 billion in sales in 2008. It differs from Johnson & Johnson's product Remicade, as it is fully derived from human DNA, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Remicade, which earned $5 billion last year, is made partially using the DNA of mice, Abbott's lawyers said.

Johnson & Johnson was not seeking to have Abbott stop making the medicine, which is also used for autoimmune disorders, like Crohn's disease.

The company was seeking a monetary settlement, which still allows Abbott to earn profits, Johnson & Johnson's attorneys said.

Abbott already paid nearly $7 billion to purchase Humira, which it got by acquiring Knoll Pharmaceuticals in 2001.