New Turn in Patent Dispute Between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Natco Pharma


A patent dispute between USA-based pharma major Bristol-Myers Squibb and Indian pharma company Natco Pharma has taken a new turn with the Delhi High Court awarding interim relief to Hyderabad-based Natco, setting aside an injunction filed by B-MS seeking to protect its anticoagulant Eliquis (apixaban) against Natco’s copy product Apigat.

Natco launched its generic version in June. B-MS objected saying the product has a patent till September 2022. The drug was granted a patent in 2011.

While B-MS made prayers for a permanent injunction, restraining the Indian company from making, selling, distributing and marketing the drug, Natco contended that apixaban, used in the prevention and treatment of blood clots, had already been disclosed in an earlier patent filing by BMS.

Natco also filed a lawsuit in a Hyderabad court as also before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board seeking revocation of the suit patent.

The Indian company had initiated declaratory suits due to the unique nature of multiple patents covering the single molecule.

The Plaintiffs (B-MS) averred the suit patent covers a molecule having an International Non-proprietary Name ‘apixaban’ used in the prevention and treatment of thromboembolic diseases, and that the Plaintiffs are the rightful owners of the patent which expires on September 17, 2022.

In the last week of June 2019, the Plaintiffs received information that the Indian company was planning to launch a generic version of apixaban under the probable brand name Apigat and alleged that the latter had “already distributed sample packs to many cardiologists in the country“.

Earlier in 2012, B-MS had filed a contempt suit against Natco for allegedly violating a court order that prevented it from selling a generic version of its patented cancer drug dasatinib. Natco contended it had not reneged as its version of the drug was different and did not infringe on the patent.