Ab­b­Vie puts up fight against Orilis­sa gener­ics from San­doz, Te­va and oth­ers

Sev­er­al drug­mak­ers, in­clud­ing San­doz and Te­va, are bank­ing on swift ap­provals for their gener­ic ver­sions of the en­dometrio­sis drug Orilis­sa — but not if Ab­b­Vie can help it.

The phar­ma gi­ant filed suit against the gener­ic com­peti­tors in Delaware fed­er­al court on Thurs­day, as­sert­ing sev­er­al patents, the lat­est of which ex­pire in 2036. Plain­tiffs ar­gued in a 167-page com­plaint that ab­bre­vi­at­ed NDAs sub­mit­ted by the de­fen­dants have caused or will lead to “fore­see­able harm and in­jury” to Ab­b­Vie.

In ad­di­tion to San­doz and Te­va, Ab­b­Vie tar­get­ed Sun Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, Alkem Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Het­ero Labs, Lupin Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, MSN Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Prin­ston Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, Zhe­jianh Hua­hai Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, Sol­co Health­care, Zenara Phar­ma and Bio­phore In­dia Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, among oth­ers in the lat­est suit.

Orilis­sa was first ap­proved in 2018 for mod­er­ate to se­vere pain as­so­ci­at­ed with en­dometrio­sis, a con­di­tion that oc­curs when es­tro­gen lev­els rise dur­ing a woman’s men­stru­al cy­cle, caus­ing le­sions to grow out­side of the uterus. Those le­sions can shred dur­ing men­stru­a­tion, caus­ing pain. In some cas­es, pa­tients de­vel­op fer­til­i­ty prob­lems. Orilis­sa works by re­duc­ing the amount of es­tro­gen pro­duced by the body to help man­age pain.

The drug comes in two dos­es, 150mg and 200mg. The ear­li­est patents cov­er­ing the two dos­es ex­pire in 2024, though Ab­b­Vie not­ed in the com­plaint that it has filed for an ex­ten­sion on at least one of those patents to 2029.

Orilis­sa con­tributed to Ab­b­Vie’s $796 mil­lion women’s health busi­ness in 2021 — led by the con­tra­cep­tive pill Lo Loestrin – though ru­mors swirled that year that Ab­b­Vie was con­sid­er­ing a $5 bil­lion sale of the port­fo­lio. For­mer Al­ler­gan CEO Brent Saun­ders had ini­tial­ly laid out plans to of­fload the com­pa­ny’s women’s health and in­fec­tious dis­ease units, but even­tu­al­ly de­cid­ed to hold on to them. Ab­b­Vie lat­er scooped them up in its $63 bil­lion buy­out.

Ab­b­Vie wouldn’t be the first phar­ma gi­ant to part ways with women’s health. Mer­ck spun out its women’s health unit Organon, which ac­count­ed for $6.6 bil­lion in 2020 sales, last June.

Aside from po­ten­tial gener­ics, Orilis­sa com­petes with the Pfiz­er-part­nered Myfem­bree, which was first ap­proved last year to treat heavy men­stru­al bleed­ing with uter­ine fi­broids, and snagged an ad­di­tion­al in­di­ca­tion in Au­gust for en­dometrio­sis pain.

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As you start planning for #JPM23, we hope you will consider joining Endpoints News for our live and virtual events. For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, we hope you are enjoying the long weekend with loved ones. And if you’re not — we’ll see you next week!

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Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.

Stanley Erck, Novavax CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP Images)

No­vavax pulls out of Covid-19 vac­cine al­liance with Gavi

Novavax is pulling out of its Covid-19 vaccine deal with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a global partnership tasked with ensuring vaccine access in lower-income countries, following an alleged contract violation.

The Maryland-based company claimed on Friday that Gavi failed to purchase at least 350 million doses of its protein-based vaccine Nuvaxovid by the end of the year, per an advanced purchase agreement. Gavi, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) are co-leaders of COVAX, an effort to ensure that all participating countries, regardless of income levels, have access to vaccines.

Alzheimer’s drug bites the dust; Re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture, re­struc­ture; Land­mark di­a­betes OK; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Being in the news business can give one a warped sense of time — it feels like quite a while since we published some of these stories below. But next Saturday’s Endpoints Weekly will definitely be shorter, as we take off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. We will still have the abbreviated edition in your inbox at the usual time.

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Fu­ji­film to build $188M man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in North Car­oli­na’s re­search tri­an­gle

As the Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm continues to invest heavily in its CDMO arm, one of its manufacturing divisions is teeing up a major investment.

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific announced on Tuesday that parent Fujifilm is making a $188 million investment to build a cell culture media manufacturing site in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. The new site will mark Fujifilm Irvine’s fifth manufacturing site globally and its second in the US.