US Rejects Patents On Gilead's Antiretroviral Viread

Armen Hareyan's picture


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday rejected four patents on Gilead Sciences' antiretroviral drug Viread, Reuters reports. Viread is knowngenerically as tenofovir and is sold as part of Gilead'scombination therapies Truvada and Atripla.

According to Reuters, the not-for-profit group Public Patent Foundation, or PUBPAT, last year submitted evidence to PTO that the scientificknowledge on which the four patents were based existed before Gileadheld the patents (Beasley, Reuters, 1/23). The foundation in itschallenge to the patents submitted prior knowledge that Gileadhad not disclosed to PTO during the patent application process. In itschallenge, PUBPAT said that the prior knowledge would have prevented PTO fromissuing the patents (PUBPAT release, 1/23).


Gilead has the right to respond to the PTOdecision (Reuters, 1/23). The patents will be protected while Gilead responds to the decision, the AP/ reports (AP/, 1/23). Amy Flood, a spokesperson for Gilead, said that rejection is a "typical step inthe re-examination process," adding that although the "process maytake some time," the company does not "believe the exclusivity of ourproduct is in jeopardy" (Reuters, 1/23).

The majority of Gilead's revenue comes fromsales of antiretrovirals, the AP/ reports (AP/, 1/23). Morgan Stanley analyst Sapna Srivastava said the rejectioncreates "some uncertainty about Gilead'score franchise" but added that Morgan Stanley believes the company"will be able to defend its patents." Srivastava added that it couldbe three to four years before a final decision regarding the patents is made (Reuters,1/23).

PUBPAT Executive Director Dan Ravicher said the group is "extremelypleased" with the patent office's decision. Ravicher added that everyHIV-positive person is "entitled to the best pharmaceuticals possiblewithout undeserved patents making them exorbitantly expensive" (PUBPATrelease, 1/23).

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