Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics wins suit to in­val­i­date Lonza’s pa­tent

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Nam Hyun-woo [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics has won a law­suit against Lonza, in­val­i­dat­ing the Swiss phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm’s pa­tent over a cell line tech­nol­ogy, it said Tues­day.

The com­pany said Korea’s In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Trial and Ap­peal Board sided with Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics in an Aug. 29 rul­ing on the firm’s in­val­i­da­tion ac­tion filed against Lonza’s pa­tent re­lated to a car­rier trans­fer­ring a gene, de­vel­oped for pro­duc­ing an an­ti­body, into a cell line.

Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics ini­tially filed the in­val­i­da­tion ac­tion with the tri­bunal July 3, 2017, and claimed the pa­tent, dubbed “Mam­malian Ex­pres­sion Vec­tor Com­pris­ing the MCMV Pro­moter and First In­tron of HCMV Ma­jor Im­me­di­ate Early Gene,” posed an un­fair ob­sta­cle to its and many biotech com­pa­nies’ ef­forts to en­ter the emerg­ing mar­ket.

Lonza, a global chem­i­cals and biotech­nol­ogy com­pany based in Switzer­land, is a lead­ing con­tract devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany, which de­vel­ops mass pro­duc­tion pro­cesses for lab­o­ra­tory level an­ti­body drugs and man­u­fac­tures them for com­mer­cial use.

Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics has been run­ning a con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness and has been mak­ing ef­forts to carry out con­tract devel­op­ment since 2017.

The tri­bunal de­ci­sion came af­ter nine opin­ion sub­mis­sions over two years from both com­pa­nies and a hear­ing, with Lonza des­per­ate to de­fend its mar­ket share.

Not only Lonza, but other global bio firms are mak­ing ef­forts to re­tain their patents in emerg­ing mar­kets such as Korea, China and In­dia, to max­i­mize profits.

In its con­clu­sion, the tri­bunal said: “Lonza’s pa­tent does not pos­sess nov­elty as it re­sem­bles pre­vi­ous tech­nolo­gies, and does not show cre­ativ­ity as it can be eas­ily cre­ated by or­di­nary tech­ni­cians based on pre­vi­ous tech­nolo­gies.”

Also, the tri­bunal said the tech­nol­ogy’s pa­tent was in­valid in ad­vanced mar­kets, such as Europe, the U.S. and Ja­pan, and that the pa­tent was re­tained only in emerg­ing mar­kets, thus pre­sent­ing ob­sta­cles to new­com­ers. Lonza has a month to ap­peal. “The com­pany took the ini­tia­tive to file a pa­tent in­val­i­da­tion ac­tion to relieve Korean bio com­pa­nies from the pa­tent, al­low­ing more free­dom in re­search and devel­op­ment and pro­mot­ing fur­ther growth in the Korean and greater bio in­dus­try,” a Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics of­fi­cial said.

Since en­ter­ing the con­tract devel­op­ment busi­ness in 2017, Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics has quickly se­cured a track record by in­vent­ing, ob­tain­ing and main­tain­ing var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies re­lated to cell line devel­op­ment.

As of Septem­ber 2019, Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics has signed 34 con­tract devel­op­ment deals with clients such as Eu­tilex, GI In­no­va­tion, and Im­muneOn­cia.

“This sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory in the pa­tent in­val­i­da­tion case fur­ther en­sures Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics’ con­tin­u­ing mis­sion and fo­cus on ex­tend­ing its cell line devel­op­ment port­fo­lio as a con­tract devel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion, thus pro­vid­ing end-to-end con­tract devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vices to its cus­tomers,” the of­fi­cial said.

Cour­tesy of Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics

Sam­sung Bi­o­Log­ics’ plant in Songdo, In­cheon.

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