Forward Pharma loses appeal in Tecfidera patent dispute with Biogen

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks a Biogen facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

(Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a ruling that Biogen Inc’s patents on its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera are valid, rejecting a challenge by Danish drugmaker Forward Pharma A/S.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it agreed with a March 2017 ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that freed Biogen BIIB.O from future royalty payments to Forward.

Forward said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling and considering its options. Biogen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The companies had been locked in a dispute over patents for dimethyl fumarate, the key active ingredient in Tecfidera, the leading oral MS treatment. Tecfidera had sales of about $4.2 billion in 2017.

Biogen’s Tecfidera exclusivity in the United States is secured through 2028 under the ruling.

In January 2017, Biogen took out an insurance policy against a potential defeat in the patent dispute, agreeing to pay Forward $1.25 billion to license the company’s patents covering MS drugs and gain a share of Forward’s intellectual property.

The 2017 agreement would have allowed Forward to receive additional royalty payments if it had won the Federal Circuit appeal.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao