Note: This story has been corrected to name Merck KGaA, not Merck & Co, in the first paragraph.
A federal appeals court on Monday invalidated a Biogen Inc patent on the treatment of multiple sclerosis using a protein known as interferon-beta, a victory for Merck KGaA and Pfizer Inc, which jointly market the interferon-beta-based drug Rebif.
Circuit Judge Richard Linn, writing for a unanimous panel, reinstated a jury verdict that the patent was invalid because prior art had already described the use of naturally occurring interferon-beta to treat the disease. Biogen’s patent described the use of interferon-beta created synthetically, using recombinant DNA, but Linn said that did not make the method patentable.
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