Pfizer Wins $107.5M in Cancer Drug Patent Case Against AstraZeneca

Another patent case puts Pfizer under fire.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

May 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Pfizer Wins $107.5M in Cancer Drug Patent Case Against AstraZeneca
Two trials have been ongoing with three pharmaceutical companies. One is involved in both cases.RUNSTUDIO / The Image Bank via Getty Images

It was a week of patent cases going to trial in the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna all were waiting to hear the outcome of who has the rights to a major cancer drug as well as a COVID vaccine.

On May 20, 2024, AstraZeneca owes Pfizer $107.5 million in damages, a Delaware federal jury ruled, after finding that AstraZeneca's blockbuster lung cancer drug Tagrisso violated its Wyeth unit's patent rights, Reuters reported.

The jury agreed that AstraZeneca's drug infringed two patents covering methods for treating cancer with the breast-cancer drug Nerlynx, which is sold by Puma Biotechnology. Puma licenses the patents from Pfizer to make its drug.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the verdict but is "confident in our IP (intellectual property) position in relation to Tagrisso" and will "vigorously defend" its rights.

Representatives for Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the verdict. Puma is no longer a plaintiff in the case.

Tagrisso earned AstraZeneca nearly $5.8 billion in revenue last year, according to a company report.

New York-based Pfizer, which acquired Wyeth in 2009, sued AstraZeneca in 2021. It argued that Tagrisso used kinase inhibitors to treat cancer in the same way as Nerlynx.

AstraZeneca denied infringing the patents and argued that they are invalid.

US District Judge Matthew Kennelly will hold a separate bench trial on some of AstraZeneca's remaining defenses in June, which could result in a ruling that negates the verdict.

In a second case, Moderna said on May 17, 2024, the European Patent Office had upheld the validity of one of the company's key patents, a win in an ongoing COVID-19 vaccine dispute with Pfizer and BioNTech, Reuters reported.

The company has been locked in a legal battle with Pfizer-BioNTech over their COVID shot Comirnaty after suing them in 2022 for allegedly copying its mRNA technology.

Pfizer and BioNTech have countersued, alleging that Moderna's patent is invalid, after the companies' rival vaccines generated billions in revenues during the pandemic.

Pfizer said it was disappointed and would consider all legal options and may appeal the decision.

"Irrespective of the outcome of this legal matter, we will continue to manufacture and supply the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine," Pfizer said in a statement to Reuters.

BioNTech said the patent office's decision to maintain Moderna's European patent "does not change our unwavering and unequivocal stance that this patent is invalid."

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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