Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) [Detail Analytic Report] eased up 0.76% during pre-market trading session on Thursday as a federal judge has allowed the firm to submit additional evidence in a drug-patent dispute with Merck & Co., after Gilead claimed a former Merck patent attorney lied under oath in the case, Wall Street Journal reported. In March, a federal jury ordered Gilead to pay Merck $200 million after finding that two US patents held by Merck and its partner, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., were valid and infringed by Gilead’s multibillion-dollar hepatitis C drugs, Harvoni and Sovaldi. The trial arose from the firm’s 2013 lawsuit seeking a judgment that the Merck patents were invalid. The patents cover a range of compounds treating hepatitis C.
Merck recently started selling Zepatier, its own hepatitis C drug. After the jury decision and award in March, US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman presided over a bench trial in which Gilead argued it shouldn’t have to pay Merck because Merck was dishonest in obtaining its patents. Gilead reported that in 2004, Merck patent attorney Philippe Durette had a conference call with employees of Pharmasset Inc., in which he learned the chemical structure of an experimental hepatitis C drug that Pharmasset was developing, code-named PSI-6130.
Gilead later spent over $11 billion to buyout Pharmasset and its hepatitis C drugs. Gilead disclosed that Durette misused what he learned on the call to subsequently change claims in pending Merck patent applications in a way that would cover Pharmasset’s technology. A spokeswoman for Merck stated that the jury reached the correct verdict, and Merck believes the court will uphold it. Merck reported that Gilead’s arguments about Merck’s conduct in obtaining its patents are without merit.
Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) [Detail Analytic Report], Mark Alles stated during first quarter earning call that their global teams generated excellent Q1 results and their strong operating momentum makes them confident that they will achieve or exceed their ambitious 2016 goals. They are driving long-standing value creation through the continued advancement of their innovative pipeline with major clinical data expected during the coming two years.
Celgene declared net income of $800.7 million in its first quarter. The New Jersey-located firm reported that it had profit of 99 cents a share. Earnings, revised for stock option expense and non-recurring costs, came in $1.32 a share. The results beat Wall Street outlooks. The average estimate of experts polled by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.26 a share.
Celgene Corporation disclosed its first quarter revenue of $2.51 billion, missing Street forecasts. According to Zacks, analysts have expected $2.58 billion. Celgene expects full-year earnings to be $5.60 to $5.70 a share, with revenue in the range of $10.75 to $11 billion.
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLDX) [Detail Analytic Report] disclosed that it has started an open-label Phase 1/2 safety and tolerability research of glembatumumab vedotin in patients with unresectable stage IIIB or IV, gpNMB-expressing, advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, who have progressed on prior platinum-based chemotherapy. Glembatumumab vedotin is a fully human monoclonal antibody-drug conjugate that targets gpNMB, a protein overexpressed by multiple tumor types, including SCC of the lung, where approximately 85% of patients overexpress the marker.
Overexpression of gpNMB has been revealed to promote the invasion and metastasis of cancer and has been associated with poor clinical outcome. Celldex has entered into a cooperative relationship with PrECOG, LLC, which represents a research network established by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, and PrECOG, LLC will conduct the research.
Thomas Davis, Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer of Celldex Therapeutics commented that while checkpoint inhibitor therapy has been a significant development for patients with squamous cell lung cancer, the majority of patients still require new, effective treatment options especially targeted therapies. gpNMB, the target of glembatumumab vedotin, is strongly expressed in the vast majority of squamous cell lung cancers. Glembatumumab vedotin has consistently induced notable response rates in other difficult to treat cancers that overexpress gpNMB. They hope to elicit similar activity in squamous cell carcinoma and look forward to completing this research.