Hospira Secures Victory in Patent Battle Over Avastin Cancer Drug

August 21, 2019

Willkie represented Hospira, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., in Genentech Inc. v. Hospira Inc., before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

In a widely watched dispute involving an important patent on the cancer drug Avastin, which reported sales of over $2.9 billion in 2018, Willkie recently secured an appellate court victory on behalf of Hospira, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., in Genentech Inc. v. Hospira Inc., before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Genentech alleged that the Avastin patent covers treatment of cancer patients with a drug called bevacizumab, the active ingredient in Avastin. On July 31, 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the ruling of the U.S. Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeals Board that the Genentech patent is invalid based on prior literature reports cited by Hospira regarding the use of bevacizumab. The Court also rejected Genentech’s challenge to the constitutionality of the statute which authorized Hospira’s administrative challenge to the patent. Other litigation between Hospira and Genentech concerning Hospira’s bevacizumab product continues, with Willkie serving as lead counsel.

The Willkie team on the appeal included partners Thomas Meloro and Michael Johnson, and associates Dan Constantinescu and Zach Travis.