GSK has filed a lawsuit against US firm over alleged patent infringement of its HIV drug


GSK is relying on the success of its HIV treatment (Source: Getty)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today announced it has launched a lawsuit against US-based Gilead Sciences over alleged patent infringement of its breakthrough HIV drug Juluca.

ViiV Healthcare, an HIV specialist majority-owned by GSK, won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its once-daily tablet in November last year, while Gilead received FDA approval for its once-a-day HIV treatment yesterday.

GSK alleged Gilead's drug infringes ViiV's patent covering dolutegravir, a key element of its treatment, and it said ViiV will seek "financial redress".

​GSK is relying on the success of Juluca to help fill a revenue gap left by falling sales of its lung drug Advair.

"Intellectual property protections are critical for the life-sciences industry, allowing companies to make a return on their investment, which in turn enables research-based companies to put new funding into research and development," GSK said in a statement.

"It is this cycle which continues to result in the development of new and much needed treatments for people living with HIV."

A Gilead spokesperson said the company was aware of the lawsuit.

"We remain steadfast in our opinion that Biktarvy does not infringe ViiV’s US patent. ViiV’s challenge does not impact our ability to make Biktarvy available to patients in the US," the spokesperson said.

Shares in GSK, which is Britain's largest drugmaker, were up 1.74 per cent at 1,307p at the time of writing, following a rise in full-year profits and sales announced yesterday.

Indivior files lawsuits

Meanwhile, FTSE 250 drugmaker Indivior also today announced that its US subsidiary had filed patent lawsuits against companies making generic versions of its Suboxone opioid addiction treatment.

Indivior has already attempted to sue the maker of a generic version of its drug, but in September, a US court ruled that Dr Reddy's generic did not infringe on its patents.

The firm's fresh lawsuits against Dr Reddy's, Actavis, Par, Alvogen and Teva relate to a separate patent which was issued earlier this year.

"We believe this new patent is strong and we are asserting it in order to protect our intellectual property rights," said Indivior's chief executive Shaun Thaxter.

Read more: GSK's shares rise on higher profits and sales, but Advair threat remains