Bristol Myers Squibb sues Novartis for royalties surrounding the use of transgenic mice
Two Big Pharma companies are going to the mat over genetically modified mice in a licensing dispute.
Bristol Myers Squibb is suing Novartis in New York over a dispute concerning an evaluation, research and commercialization agreement stretching back to the late ’90s initially inked between Novartis and BMS’ predecessor Medarex. The deal in question allowed Novartis to use Medarex’s patented transgenic mice to develop therapeutic drugs. Novartis agreed to pay Medarex – and subsequently BMS – a royalty on sales of drugs it developed using the mice.
The agreement between the two parties, according to the lawsuit, contains an arbitration clause stating that “the arbitrators shall determine what discovery will be permitted, based on the principle of limiting the cost and time which the parties must expend on discovery.”
In February 2019, Novartis began paying BMS royalties, under protest, on two drugs developed using the transgenic mice. But even as it did, Novartis claimed the royalties were compensation for a license to expired patents and therefore unenforceable.
Novartis then filed a demand for arbitration to resolve the royalty dispute in March 2019. BMS and Novartis initially agreed to amend the agreement to resolve the dispute through a panel of three neutral and independent arbitrators, with BMS filing an answer to Novartis’s arbitration demand in May 2019, and the parties eventually reaching an agreement.
After the conclusion of discovery, BMS filed a motion for summary determination and after several cross-motions were filed, the panel denied Novartis’s claims and requests for relief. However, while Novartis said it would file the award, it has not been signed and validated.
BMS is asking the court to confirm the panel’s decision and direct entry of judgment against Novartis per the decision.
Transgenic mice are ones that have had DNA from another source put into their DNA. They’re often used in lab studies, and have been behind many approved drugs. Joseph Bryant, adjunct professor at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine told Endpoints News that developers are likely watching this case, as it’s a complicated process.
This suit comes at a time when Greece is looking to hold Novartis accountable for actions that got them in trouble with the US government.