Drug and biologic developers have faced increasing pressure from patients and their advocates to make investigational drugs available for compassionate use prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Over the past year social media campaigns have spotlighted patients seeking early access to potentially life-saving treatments, drawing attention to the growing debate between patient advocates promoting wider access to investigational drugs, and those urging more cautious approaches. Propelled by the plight of critically ill patients desperately seeking new treatments, several states have passed laws giving patients the “Right to Try” investigational drugs or biologics. FDA has also taken steps to make its “Expanded Access” process more user-friendly, and the Agency continues to solicit input from patient groups on risk-benefit analysis and available treatments as part of its Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative.
Companies may want to monitor regulatory and legislative developments relating to early access to investigational treatments, and to adopt formal compassionate use policies.
Continue reading Expanding Access to Experimental Drugs
By Vicki G. Norton, Siegfried J.W. Ruppert, and Michael Swit
In a trio of March 6, 2014 inter partes review (IPR) decisions, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) canceled patent claims related to next generation DNA sequencing technology, after Illumina, Inc. countered Columbia University’s patent infringement suit by successfully petitioning for IPR of claims in three of five of Columbia’s patents-in-suit.
The decisions illustrate the utility of the new IPR process before the PTAB, implemented under the America Invents Act (AIA), as a parallel venue in which patent litigation defendants can challenge the patentability of claims asserted against them in litigation, more expeditiously and less costly than in court proceedings.
Continue reading Successful Use of Inter Partes Review to Cancel Claims Asserted in Parallel Litigation
By Vicki G. Norton and Michael A. Swit
FDA-regulated firms — drug, device, biologic or otherwise — on both sides of the patent aisle concerned with the bounds of the “Safe Harbor” exception to patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1) can learn several key lessons from the recent decision in Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v Santaris Pharma A/S Corp. (hereafter: “Isis”), particularly how to properly prove the safe harbor defense once the litigation unfolds and also when the harbor provides shelter from post-approval patent storms.
Continue reading Court Offers Insights On When the 271(e)(1) Safe Harbor Applies to the Use of Patented Technology in Early – and Late — Drug Development