AbbVie puts an end to Botox trade secrets suit, imposes royalty, license deal on competitor Evolus
The crown jewel of AbbVie’s big-dollar acquisition of Allergan, Botox is one of the most recognizable brands in pharma — and both drugmakers have worked overtime to protect its advantage. After scoring a fatal blow to Evolus’ chances as a major competitor late last year, AbbVie is now putting the icing on the cake.
Looking to settle once and for all a years-long IP spat, AbbVie will put a legacy Botox trade secrets case against Evolus to rest in return for a royalty and license deal for future sales, the Illinois drug giant said Friday.
AbbVie and Medytox, the Allergan partner responsible for developing Botox, will receive royalties and future milestones for US sales of Jeuveau, Botox’s primary rival, and global sales of Evolus’ frown-line injection, Nuceiva.
In return, AbbVie will drop its California trade secrets suit, and Evolus will hold licenses to keep selling both drugs on AbbVie’s turf. Evolus will also hand over an undisclosed amount of common stock to Medytox.
The deal comes three months after the ITC found Evolus and South Korea’s Daewoong Pharmaceuticals infringed Allergan and Medytox’s IP in developing their aesthetics platform based on the botulinum neurotoxin. Evolus was issued a 21-month ban on the importation or sale of the wrinkle treatment following the ruling — a reduction from the initial 10-year ban proposed by a judge, Bloomberg reported.
The Friday deal settlement didn’t include ongoing litigation against Daewoong.
When AbbVie picked up Allergan as part of a $63 billion merger completed in 2020, it acquired blockbuster Botox as well as a particularly nasty dispute with Evolus, which has pitched itself as a major competitor. But any potential threat Evolus may have posed was effectively nixed after the ruling and would have taken a long time to come to fruition anyway given Botox’s big market lead.
Earlier this month, the FDA approved Botox to treat detrusor (bladder muscle) overactivity associated with neurological conditions in children 5 and older who were intolerant to or didn’t improve on anticholinergic meds. It was the 12th indication across Botox’s aesthetics and therapeutic portfolio, AbbVie said.
With Evolus laid low, there are still Botox competitors out there with some promise. First, there’s Revance, which read out positive Phase III results for its DaxibotulinumtoxinA in October. The FDA deferred its decision on Revance’s BLA in November due to Covid-related travel restrictions that kept the agency from performing an inspection of the company’s manufacturing facility.
In June, Revance and Mylan announced plans to move forward with a separate program for a Botox biosimilar.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct an error. Medytox was a development partner on Botox for Allergan.