[Ctd] Invent Tech - Key HIV/AIDS Drug Patents To Be Reviewed By U.S. Patent Office
paul.kholer at gmail.com
Tue Aug 7 08:50:01 PDT 2007
Key HIV/AIDS Drug Patents To Be Reviewed By U.S. Patent Office
The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") announced today that the U.S. Patent
& Trademark Office has granted each of PUBPAT's requests to review four key
HIV/AIDS drug patents held by Gilead Sciences, Inc. The patents relate to
the drug known generically as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), a key
weapon in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Gilead markets TDF in the United
States under the brand name VIREAD and as a part of its ATRIPLA combination
Roughly 40 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS, including
more than 1.2 million Americans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will
not allow anyone other than Gilead distribute TDF in the United States
because Gilead claims the four challenged patents give them the exclusive
right to do so.
"Every person suffering from HIV/AIDS has a right to get the best medical
treatment science can offer, without any unjustified impediments placed in
their way," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "This includes
Americans infected with HIV/AIDS, who are entitled to the best
pharmaceuticals possible without undeserved patents making them exorbitantly
In its March filings challenging the patents, PUBPAT submitted prior art
that the Patent Office did not review before granting the patents to the
Foster City, California, biopharmaceutical giant. PUBPAT also described in
detail how the prior art invalidates the patents. The Patent Office has now
found that PUBPAT's filings indeed raised "substantial questions" regarding
the validity of each of the four Gilead Sciences patents. Having granted
PUBPAT's requests to review each of the patents, the Patent Office will now
turn to deciding whether they deserve to exist or not.
"We are very pleased that the Patent Office has agreed with us that there
are indeed significant questions about the validity of the Gilead patents on
TDF," said Ravicher. "This is a very strong first step towards ending the
harm being caused to the public by Gilead's use of those patents to prevent
anyone else from offering TDF to HIV/AIDS patients in the United States."
The Gilead Sciences TDF patents challenged by PUBPAT now being reviewed by
the Patent Office are U.S. Patents No. 5,922,695, 5,935,946, 5,977,089 and
6,043,230. Gilead has applied for similar patents on TDF in other countries
throughout the world, including India, where they have received fierce
opposition by non-profit AIDS patient groups.
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